Tag Archives: Managing Director

Marriott opens world’s largest Four Points by Sheraton in Makkah

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Four Points by Sheraton has announced the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem in Saudi Arabia – the brand’s largest property globally. Adding over 1,100 rooms to the Holy City, the hotel is situated in the Al Naseem district and is in close proximity to the centre of Makkah and the holy Masjid al-Haram. “The trajectory for religious tourism into Saudi Arabia continues to grow, resulting in a strong demand for hotels in the Holy Cities,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director – Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “We are delighted to open our fifth property in the Holy City of Makkah. Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem offers pilgrims the brand’s excellent service and a comfortable hospitality experience in the Holy City. With this opening, we now operate 24 hotels in the country and are on track to double our presence in the Kingdom in the next five years.” Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Al Naseem features 1,136 spacious and modern guest rooms including 121 suites, offering unmatched views of the holy city of Makkah. Reflecting the brand’s promise to provide what matters most to today’s independent travellers, the hotel offers the brand’s defining touches including complimentary bottled water in all rooms, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and an energising breakfast with fresh coffee. The hotel includes four dining concepts, Al Sharq, Asia House and two Lobby Cafés.

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Etihad Cargo launches ‘FlightValet’ to transport luxury vehicles

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Ahead of the seasonal surge in demand for luxury vehicle shipments to popular holiday destinations, Etihad Cargo celebrates the launch of ‘FlightValet’, its newly designed product aimed to ease the process of moving motor vehicles across the globe. Etihad Cargo transports hundreds of high-value vehicles annually on its passenger and freighter aircraft, and this new product will further simplify customers’ booking experience. Commenting on the launch, Abdulla Mohamed Shadid, Managing Director – Cargo and Logistics, Etihad Airways said, “We are delighted to introduce this new tailored product to the marketplace. Demand from our customers has grown significantly in recent years, and in an effort to improve our service offering, we have introduced vehicle handling capability at key new stations in 2018.” FlightValet is available to those who wish to transport their luxury vehicles immediately. Customers choosing the service will benefit from Etihad Cargo’s proven track record in handling some of the world’s most valuable cars. FlightValet is offered through a dedicated team that will oversee the swift, safe and secure delivery of the vehicle to its final destination. Throughout the year, it will also cater to racing enthusiasts worldwide wishing to take their cars around iconic racetracks such as Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009.

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Travelport announces ‘Trip Assist’ for travel agencies

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Travelport has announced a trio of new agreements with travel agencies in the UK, the Middle East, and Singapore to deploy Trip Assist, Travelport’s mobile app for agencies. The new agreements come after the successful launch of Trip Assist in the Middle East in April 2018 and will give the customers of UK-based Omega Travel Limited, the United Arab Emirates-based Cozmo Travel, and Singapore-based Pegasus Travel a personalized service at their fingertips wherever they are on their journey. Trip Assist provides agencies with a fully branded mobile engagement solution that enables them to support, engage and connect with their travellers at every stage of their journey. Incorporating smart itinerary management capabilities and the ability to create agency defined messages; Trip Assist empowers agencies to build stronger relationships with travellers. For travellers, Trip Assist is a personal digital travel concierge service that provides day of travel assistance, real-time trip alerts and click to call agent support. Niklas Andreen, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Global Hospitality and Digital at Travelport said, “Mobile done right, allows agents to move from passive itinerary management to being a true proactive partner of the travellers throughout their journey. Travelport is proud to be working with such pioneering travel agencies as Omega Travel, Cozmo Travel and Pegasus Travel Management on redefining the role of the travel agency through mobile engagement.”

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Wego publishes inaugural ‘MENA Traveller Destination Leaderboards’ at ATM

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At the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Wego revealed the ‘MENA Traveller Destination Leaderboards’ that showcases the relative popularity of global destinations amongst travellers based in the MENA region. As the largest online travel marketplace across the MENA region, Wego users shop for tens of millions of trips each quarter and it’s this flight and hotel search data that has been analysed to determine the destination rankings. The leaderboard announced today is for Q1 2018 and subsequent updates will be released shortly after the close of each quarter. Egypt retains its top ranking in Q1 2018 as the most popular destination for travellers, from across the MENA region. “MENA travellers are lured by the culture, scenic attractions, and incredible food that can be experienced in Egypt”, said Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director – MENA and India, Wego. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia retains its second ranking and received a steady mix of business, expatriate and religious travel. India at the third position and Turkey at the fourth slot stepped up one rung each in the destination leaderboard for Q1 2018 vs Q1 2017, while UAE fell from the third to the fifth position. Despite the overall drop, Dubai remains a popular destination for MENA travellers. The biggest gainer in Q1 2018 was Oman which jumped a massive 9 places to #15, an improvement likely related to the opening of a new airport in Muscat and a host of new hotels and other facilities opening in the Sultanate.

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First Taj in Saudi Arabia by 2023 with 340 keys

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The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has announced its entry into Makkah, Saudi Arabia, with a partnership with Umm Al Qura Development and Construction Company in the prestigious King Abdul Aziz Road (KAAR) project. Commenting on the signing of this agreement,  Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) said, “We are honoured to partner with Umm Al Qura Development and Construction Company in bringing the first Taj hotel to Saudi Arabia. This signing is aligned to our strategy of a strong focus on global growth markets and to be present where our guests travel to. We are committed to expanding our presence in the MENA region.” This hotel will be IHCL’s fourth venture in the MENA region. The company manages Taj Dubai located in the Burj Khalifa downtown area. It will also open another two hotels in Dubai in the next twelve to eighteen months. The proposed hotel is conveniently situated within walking distance of the Grand Mosque (Masjid Al-Haram), the main attraction for over six million pilgrims who visit the city each year. It will also be in close proximity to commercial offices, retail stores and restaurants within KAAR project. The hotel, scheduled to open in January 2023, will have approximately 340 keys, banqueting facilities and several restaurants to serve all tastes.

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Travelport reveals fastest-growing international destinations for KSA travellers

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Egypt, UAE and Turkey have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travellers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the last 12 months, according to analysis conducted by Travelport. Fastest-growing international destinations for KSA travellers booked through global distribution systems. This data is derived from Travelport’s interpretation of relevant MIDT data. It reflects bookings made in the KSA through GDS only. Additional booking will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence. From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, bookings made in the KSA through all global distribution systems (GDS) to Egypt increased by nearly 190,000, up 17% on the previous 12 months. Bookings to the UAE rose by over 70,000, up 13%, and to Turkey by just over 65,000, up 31%.  Global distribution systems (GDS) are vast hi-tech reservation networks that allow travel agents, travel management companies, and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel-related items. Matthew Powell, Travelport’s Managing Director  for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, said, “Growth in flight bookings tends to be driven by increased airline capacity, rises in demand from leisure trave”llers, economic and political advances, which attract more interest in trade and investment, and major construction projects that require large international labour forces. The results we’re seeing here cut across all of these.”

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Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai opens at Palm Jumeirah

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Kempinski Hotels launches Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai on the West Crescent of Dubai’s exclusive Palm Jumeirah. The 100,000sqm beach resort pays homage to the palaces of 18th century Europe. With 389 rooms and suites, eight world-class restaurants and bars, 3,000 sqm Cinq Mondes Spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre and yoga studio, 500m private white sand beach and 80-seat private cinema, Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai provides a gateway into palatial living. “We look forward to welcoming our discerning guests to our palace by the sea in 2018, and bringing them on our journey,” says Sebastien Mariette, Managing Director, Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai. “We aim to offer a combination of timeless opulence and world-class luxury to guests visiting Dubai, guaranteed to create unforgettable memories. The UAE is a compelling country full of rich culture, diverse landscapes and unique attractions, making it a must-visit destination for tourists from around the world.” Offering eight categories in total, the hotel offers 389 guest rooms and suites – each furnished with bespoke pieces from traditional Italian craftsman. At 65 sqm, the deluxe rooms offer one of the most spacious level entry room categories on Palm Jumeirah, while mezzanine suites give guests the chance to add a unique element to their stay.

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UAE’S first 179-key Wyndham Garden opens in Ajman

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Wyndham Garden opened its doors recently under R Hotels in Ajman Corniche under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ajman; His Highness Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman; and His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Municipality and Planning, and Chairman of R Holding. The new hotel is the first Wyndham Garden to open in the UAE. Boasting sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf, the property features 179 rooms and suites, all facing the beachfront. It will also showcase an executive lounge on the top floor, and state-of-the-art leisure facilities including a modern spa, fitness club, outdoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, and kids’ club. Al Nuaimi remarked, “The emirate of Ajman welcomes Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche, a new landmark to showcase exceptional Emirati hospitality to the rest of the world. This is another testament on the continuous growth of the tourism sector in the emirate.” Sumair Tariq, Managing Director, R Hotels, commented, “With the solid performance of Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman and Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman over the years, we are confident that the hotel will deliver the highest standards of service to all the guests, with its seasoned and professional team.

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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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Travelport inks deal with Air France-KLM

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Travelport and Air France-KLM have signed an agreement for the distribution of content through Travelport’s platform. Air France-KLM and HOP! content on Travelport’s platform will include Travelport’s rich content, branded fares, fare families and multiple ancillaries. Travelport customers will continue to benefit from Travelport’s tools beyond booking capability that enable workflow automation, change management processes, multiple content integration, robotics for fulfilment and other vital services. This agreement also enables customers selected by Air France HOP! and KLM to access a private channel via Travelport through which they will receive content without the additional distribution surcharge levied by Air France-KLM starting April 1, 2018. Derek Sharp, Senior Vice President and Managing Director – Air Commerce, Travelport, says, “This agreement is an extension of a long-term relationship which has delivered greater choice to Air France KLM’s customers. We look forward to a continuing productive partnership as we deploy new technology with the airline.” Emmanuelle Gailland, Vice President – Distribution, Air France-KLM, says, “Travelport has been a great partner throughout our private channel engagement as a transition towards NDC. Both Air France KLM and Travelport will work together to bring NDC content of new fares, products, services and rich media in the marketplace.”

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