Tag Archives: CEO

Dubai Tourism, Fliggy sign MoU to boost Chinese tourist numbers

Issam Kazim, CEO of DCTCM and Jerry Hu, VP of Fliggy and Alibaba Group at the signing of MoU

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Fliggy, the online travel service platform of Alibaba Group. Aimed to boost the number of Chinese tourists visiting Dubai, the MoU was signed by Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) and Jerry Hu, VP, Fliggy and Alibaba Group, as part of a broader long-term alliance discussion at the Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou in China. The MoU entails among other aspects, collaboration between the partners to deliver an enhanced travel experience for Chinese visitors to the emirate by providing easy access to Dubai’s travel products and information, initiating a payment scheme, etc. In addition, Dubai Tourism would continuously maintain and update the ‘Dubai Destination Mall’ page on Fliggy, providing a comprehensive overview of the city’s tourism proposition to the broad customer base that Fliggy delivers. As a major online travel platform in China, Fliggy is a strategic travel partner for Dubai Tourism within China, allowing Dubai’s entire travel and tourism ecosystem to set up and operate their own ‘shop’ on the Fliggy virtual marketplace. Additionally, being extremely popular amongst the younger generation of Chinese tourists, Fliggy is an even more relevant partner for Dubai as there is a clear priority to build a strong base within this segment as potential visitors to the city.

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Muslim travellers to spend $157 billion by 2020

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Muslim travellers will spend $157 billion by 2020, as revealed at the Arabian Travel Market 2018 and the top outbound market remains Saudi Arabia, which will grow 17 per cent over the next three years alone, to reach $27.9 billion. During the first seminar, entitled ‘Halal Tourism – How far have we come?’ Faeez Fadhlillah, Founder and CEO, Salam Standard and Tripfez, highlighted the growing importance of Muslim millennial travellers illustrated by the changing global socio-economic trends and underscored the potential pent up demand. “The biggest countries and some of the fastest growing economies in the world are found in Asia and the Middle East. These regions typically have large Muslim populations which are young with prosperous middle classes. In addition, second and third generation Muslim communities in developed economies such as Europe and North America now have far more purchasing power and overall, their combined growth generates increased demand for faith-based travel and tourism,” Fadhlillah said. During the second seminar, ‘Halal travel becomes mainstream’, Omar Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Sociable Earth, revealed some of the key results from a recent survey, in which 35,000 Muslim travellers participated. “Certainly, the halal travel market has graduated from its niche status to become an industry-shaping force, in its own right. It has become mainstream,” said Ahmed. “It is also clear that mainstream travel and tourism organisations will now have to become far more pro-active, if they want to attract increasing numbers of Halal travellers and tap into the potential of this massive market,” added Ahmed.

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Marriott International & ATG sign agreement to establish direct connectivity

Al Tayyar Marriott's

Marriott International has signed a distribution co-operation agreement with Al Tayyar Travel Group (ATG), which will establish direct connectivity between the two companies and allow ATG to pull inventory and rates in real time from Marriott International’s reservations systems. The agreement is mutually beneficial to both companies as Marriott International will have access to ATG’s wide reaching network within KSA and beyond. Neal Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Middle East & Africa, Marriott International said, “We are delighted to consolidate our partnership with this exciting new connectivity announcement. Al Tayyar Travel Group has invested significantly in technology and payment platforms, and Marriott International is extremely proud to be able to dynamically connect our reservation systems to the mutual benefit of our companies. This will ultimately provide better service and availability of inventory to the travel trade and consumers in the MENA region.” “Our partnership with Marriott International provides customers with seamless access to a globally renowned hospitality company, and its wide-ranging offer of brands and properties, as well as the best available rates,” said Abdullah Aldawood, CEO, Al Tayyar Travel Group. “This agreement will further accelerate the growth of our company. We are delivering on our transformation strategy of being a leading online travel agency and holiday advisor in MENA, offering Omni-channel travel services,” Aldawood said.

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Etihad introduces humanoid robot Sophia at ATM 2018

Sophia headshot 4

Etihad Airways has introduced Humanoid Robot Sophia backed by AI technology at the Arabian Travel Market 2018. Sophia is the AI-powered robot famous for speaking at the UN and interviewing celebrities and world leaders alike. She was named the United Nations Development Programme’s first ever Innovation Champion for Asia and the Pacific, and is also the first robot in the world to have a nationality, after being granted citizenship by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sophia took part in a one-on-one interview with host Damian Watson, Head of Station at Abu Dhabi Media Company, discussed the future of innovation and technology in aviation, as well as about her experiences and impressions of the Capital, at the Etihad Theatre. The Etihad Theatre also featured presentations and Question and Answer sessions with the airline’s executives and guests including Special Olympics and Manchester City Football Club, covering the areas of guest experience, marketing partnerships, environment and sustainability. Peter Baumgartner, CEO, Etihad Airways took part in a one-on-one CEO interview as part of the main ATM programming on the ATM Global Stage.

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Queen Elizabeth 2 opens as a floating hotel in Dubai

QE2_Couple balcony_High Res_preview Queen Elizabeth

The Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) will open its doors to the public on April 18, 2018 following highly anticipated international interest. PCFC Hotels, part of the Dubai government’s Ports, Customs and Free Zones Corporation, has reinvented the legendary vessel as the latest tourism destination, in a city renowned for its world-class attractions. The world-famous cruise liner, which has a history spanning five decades, is now docked permanently at Mina Rashid, where her dining, accommodation and entertainment attractions will be unveiled. In this first phase, she will be welcoming passengers on board to experience a selection of beautifully restored rooms and suites in the adjacent QE2 Heritage Exhibition. Hamza Mustafa, CEO, PCFC Hotels commented, “To finally open the QE2 is a dream come true for my team. It is one of Dubai’s most highly anticipated projects and we know that a lot of people are going to be very excited to see her for the first time, or to step back on board the vessel that created so many wonderful memories during her 40 years at sea. We are thankful to our Chairman, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem whose vision and determination to give her a second life has come to fruition.” The 13-deck hotel has been thoughtfully restored to her former glory – maintaining her most loved interior design features – including her period furniture, renowned paintings and famous memorabilia.

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VFS Global to take over full ownership of VFS TasHeel

VFS GLOBAL

VFS Global has agreed to take over 100 per cent ownership of its joint venture with the TasHeel Group – VFS TasHeel and Vasco, as per a binding agreement signed between both parties. As the outsourced visa services partner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, VFS TasHeel manages Saudi Arabia visa application services across 30 countries since 2013. VFS TasHeel is currently a joint venture between the TasHeel Group and VFS Global. The transaction will enable VFS TasHeel and Vasco to benefit from operational efficiencies and synergies with VFS Global in terms of further development of services and solutions, and improve the overall service it provides to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Saudi Arabia visa applicants around the world. Subject to customary approval from the competition and regulatory authorities, the transaction is expected to complete later in 2018. There will be no change in the management core team or processes of VFS Tasheel and Vasco. The company will continue to fulfill all its obligations in accordance with its MoFA service contract. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group said, “We are pleased to take over complete ownership of VFS TasHeel and Vasco. It will enable us to accelerate the further development of the business and improve overall performance through greater synergies.”  

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Omeir Travel renews partnership with Amadeus

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Omeir Travel Agency has extended its partnership with Amadeus Gulf to expand the agency’s integrated travel services and digital solutions offering for its customers. Under the three-year agreement, Omeir Travel will leverage cutting-edge travel technology solutions aimed at maintaining the agency’s competitive edge. This includes driving automation across the agency’s operations and optimising intelligence tools in order to improve product customisation and enhance customer experience. The latest agreement will also see Omeir Travel diversify its capabilities in online and retail shops. Abdulla Bin Omeir, CEO, Omeir Travel Agency said, “In our efforts to deliver exceptional customer experience, we have embarked on a journey of digital transformation for our business. With Amadeus as our technology provider, we are confident that we can stay agile and adapt to the fast-changing needs of our customers.” According to Graham Nichols, Managing Director, Amadeus Gulf, “We are delighted to renew our long association with Omeir Travel as they embark on this exciting digital project. We will bring our vast worldwide on-line experience and technology to support them fully throughout their transformation. This new agreement demonstrates the confidence that they have in our technology, service and support.”

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Qantas and Emirates extend ACCC partnership until 2023

Emirates Qantas image

Qantas and Emirates welcome the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) reauthorisation of their partnership until 2023. For customers, the continuation of the joint business, announced in August 2017, will deliver expanded services, greater schedule choice, increased frequent flyer benefits and an ongoing commitment to the development of world-class products and travel experiences. Alison Webster, CEO, Qantas International states, “The ACCC’s reauthorisation of our joint business is an important milestone in helping us continue deliver benefits for travellers and Australian tourism for the next five years. With three options to get to Europe via Perth, Singapore and Dubai, and greater frequency across the Tasman, the ACCC’s decision allows us to continue to jointly provide the best network, the best service and the best frequent flyer programmes for millions of customers travelling between Australia/New Zealand and the UK and Europe.” Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates said, “We look forward to progressing on the plans that will take our successful partnership to its next phase. Together, we offer travellers access to even more destinations on our joint network, more convenient flight choices and frequent flyer benefits. Over the next five years, we will continue to work closely with our partner Qantas to deliver benefits for our customers.”

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Turkish Airlines adds Samarkand to its network

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The latest addition to the growing network of Turkish Airlines is Samarkand, making it the second destination of Turkish Airlines to be operated in Uzbekistan after capital city Tashkent. Founded on the Silk Road,  Samarkand is one of the most important transportation lines of world trade for centuries. Istanbul-Samarkand flights will be operated twice a week in both directions. Round trip fares are available from Istanbul to Samarkand starting from $364 including all taxes and fees. Bilal Ekşi, CEO, Turkish Airlines said, “We have launched direct flights to Samarkand from 121 countries. We are glad to serve this city that is the eternal resting place for historical figures and scholars. Turkish Airlines is operating flights to Tashkent seven times per week and to Samarkand flights twice a week. We expect that the frequency of Samarkand flights will reach to three per week.”

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SalamAir enters into partnership with Smart Travel

SalamAir-ceremony

An official ceremony was held in Dubai to celebrate the partnership of SalamAir with Smart Travel. Captain Mohamed Ahmed, CEO, SalamAir, stated that over the past year, the airline carried over half a million passengers aboard the aircraft and currently operates to nine destinations. SalamAir is the first low-cost carrier from the Sultanate of Oman which started operations about 14 months ago with the preferred aircraft Airbus A320 for its economical standard and comfortable for passengers. Two SalamAir flights operate in Dubai, besides flying to other destinations like Jeddah, Pakistan, Doha, Shiraz, etc. Ahmed further stated that although the flight has the capacity to carry 186 passengers, they only accommodate 174 to provide comfort to passengers. The objective is to ensure the cost is kept at minimal rates so that it is affordable for more travellers.

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