Tag Archives: Middle East

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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Marriott strengthens portfolio in KSA with three major deals

Signing Ceremony - Al Murjan Group and Marriott International

As part of its ongoing commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Marriott International has announced three deal signings in Jeddah with the Al Murjan Group. The projects will add over 500 rooms in the country and feature the Middle East’s first Delta Hotel by Marriott along with Jeddah’s first Marriott Executive Apartments and Four Points by Sheraton. “We are delighted to work with the Al Murjan Group on three exciting new projects in Saudi Arabia. In doing so, we will be expanding our brand portfolio in the region with the debut of Delta Hotels by Marriott while further strengthening the presence of Four Points by Sheraton and Marriott Executive Apartments,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director -Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. The Delta Hotels by Marriott Jeddah Al Salam and Marriott Executive Apartments Jeddah, Al Salam will be located on King Abdulaziz Road and Al Salam Road at the Globe Roundabout in Jeddah. Developed by the Al Murjan Group, the mixed-use project will include commercial and retail space along with the two hotels. The hotels are scheduled to open by 2023. Delta Hotels by Marriott Jeddah Al Salam will feature 175 rooms including 25 suites, two dining outlets, recreational facilities and a 3,000 sqm grand ballroom with pre-function space including four meeting rooms. Marriott Executive Apartments Jeddah, Al Salam will operate 100 stylish apartments (one, two and three bedrooms) with fully equipped kitchens along with a dining outlet, a fitness centre and swimming pool. Four Points by Sheraton Jeddah, Corniche Obhur will be located on the South Obhur Corniche and will include 306 rooms – 196 studio rooms and 110 one bedroom suites, two F&B outlets, a fitness …

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Dubai Tourism and Huawei ink deal to position it as a must-visit destination

Issam Kazim, CEO, DCTCM and Gene Jiao, President of HUAWEI CBG, Middle East & Africa at the signing ceremony

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) and Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) have signed an MoU to unite their efforts in positioning Dubai as the destination of choice for tourists from Middle East, Africa, and China. The MoU was signed by Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Gene Jiao, President, Huawei CBG, Middle East & Africa to support the strategic tie-up between DTCM and Huawei CBG. Under the terms of the MoU, Huawei will work with Dubai Tourism to create awareness of Dubai’s local culture and heritage across Middle East, Africa and China. Huawei will share information, images, videos, events information, online booking/ order services of Dubai Tourism with travellers (tourists, businessmen, residents) to provide a seamless online experience in Dubai. Kazim said, “We are fully committed to raising consideration of Dubai as the destination of choice for global travellers and constantly seek exciting opportunities to reach new audiences. This MoU with Huawei will help us achieve that goal by increasing awareness of Dubai’s key selling points including local culture and heritage, gastronomy, retail, entertainment and adventure across Middle East, Africa, and China travellers.”

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Network International strengthens hospitality payment solution capabilities

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Leading payment solutions provider in the Middle East, Network International (MEA) has strengthened its product proposition to the hospitality sector following a partnership with 3C Payment, a global provider of payment solutions. Network International is the largest merchant acquirer in the UAE and the first in the region to offer hospitality merchants access to an integrated F&B solution on the 3C Integra terminal range. The company’s solution is geared to meet the specific needs of table service restaurant outlets, enabling them to recall a list of open bills by table or waiter ID. To help with large group billing, waiting staff can recall and print itemised table bills from the POS device in addition to offering split bill payments via cash or card payment, without affecting the till functionality or tip handling. Paul Clarke, Head of Product & Innovation, Network International, commented: “One of the strongest and most vibrant sectors in the UAE’s domestic market, the food and beverage industry is rapidly adapting to the digital age in which customers expect faster and seamless ways to pay. Our new solution enables customers at F&B outlets to pay faster than ever before and make it more convenient to split bills, leave tips and simply enjoy their dining experience.” Network International’s holistic solution incorporates PCI 3.x Worldline devices and 3C Payment’s Integra Pay@Table terminal solution, integrated with Oracle Hospitality Simphony, the premiere cloud and mobile hospitality management platform to create a flexible integrated payments solution with specialist functionality and reporting across multiple channels. The terminal solution is PCI (payment card industry) Point-to-Point-Encryption (P2PE) validated, providing a secure and effective solution to protect cardholder data. The solution’s universal payment gateway is able to …

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GCC travellers conduct upto 70% of travel research on smartphones

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According to a recent Pricewaterhouse Cooper report, global megatrends and their impact on the Middle East’s travel and tourism industry, highlight that travellers in the GCC now do the majority of their holiday research and booking on smartphones and tablets. Smartphone usage for the GCC markets is among the highest in the world, 78 per cent in the UAE and 77 per cent in Saudi Arabia. Due to the ubiquity of high-speed mobile internet, travellers can easily access mobile applications to book flights and hotels online, and compare online reviews. Wego, a leading travel search website for GCC travellers living in the Middle East, was the first to enter the MENA region by launching fully localised services to meet the needs of a new generation of travellers wanting to shop for and book flights and hotels on their smartphones. “The response from GCC countries to Wego’s fully Arabised websites and mobile apps has been overwhelming,” said Mamoun Hmedan, Wego Managing Director of MENA and India. “Wego has grown rapidly to become the most popular and trusted travel search service in the region with over 10 million monthly visits.”

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Ethiopian Dreamliner’s maiden entry to Dubai

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Ethiopian B787-9 Dreamliner made its first Middle East flight to Dubai. Passengers to Dubai enjoyed the unique features of this latest technology aircraft ahead of other major destinations in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The aircraft provides passengers extra comfort with biggest window view in the sky, more leg room, mood lighting and higher air humidity at 40, 000 feet. With its vast intra African network, unrivalled by any carrier, Ethiopian Airlines seamlessly connects passengers to/from Dubai and major cities in the Middle East to more than 55 African cities with the shortest connection time via its main hub in Addis Ababa. It was back in 1979 that Ethiopian made its maiden flight to Dubai. Currently, its operation is scheduled thrice daily and four times weekly passenger and cargo services respectively.

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UAE passport remains most powerful in Middle East

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The UAE passport remains the most powerful in the Middle East, with Chad in Africa as the latest country to grant citizens visa-free travel. According to Arton Capital’s latest ranking, the UAE passport is ranked 26th globally with a visa-free score of 126. The list comes as the Republic of Chad announced on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that UAE nationals will now be exempt from pre-visa entry requirement. Emiratis can enter Chad without a visa for up to 90 days per visit. In the Gulf region, Kuwait was ranked the second most powerful passport to have with a visa-free score of 85, followed by Qatar (80), Bahrain (75), Oman (71) and Saudi Arabia (69). Globally, Arton said that Paraguay’s recent removal of visa requirements for Singaporeans propelled Singapore’s passport to the top of its Passport Index with a visa-free score of 159. Conversely, the US passport was said to have fallen down since President Trump took office.

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Ezeego1 now in Dubai

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India-based online travel marketplace, Ezeego1.ae entered the Middle East market with an aim to expand its global footprint in the B2B travel space. Their newly-established office in Dubai Internet City will be the headquarters and global base for strengthening its presence across the markets in Africa and the Middle East. Neelu Singh, CEO and Director, Ezaago1, said, “We started off our B2B arm in 2009 and have been in the forefront concentrating on different offerings in the market. We have already mapped the requirements of the Middle East market and have confidence that we can cater to all those conditions, necessities and constraints. Dubai will be the headquarters catering to the Middle East and Africa region as we see a very good growth potential. We believe that our global reach and technological know-how combined well with the local expertise of the travel providers can address the growing demand of inbound and outbound travel in the region. Extension of our rich B2B presence to this region will support the need of the growing client base of travel partners by providing solutions in the area of marketing, inventory management and dynamic pricing to achieve sustainable profit margins.” Ezeego1 will enable and distribute comprehensive content of hotels, holidays, acticites, cruises, cars amd travel insurance through its B2B online travel portal agent.ezeego1.ae. Travel agents, tour operators, retail and wholesale agents and destination management companies partnering with Ezeego1 can access millions of travel products on the online booking tool, avail flexible payment and settlement options, multi-currency support, customised technology and 24×7 customer support across geographies to be able to provide their customers the best travel experience.

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Travelport cements relationship with Ethiopian Airlines

Travelport

Travelport and Ethiopian Airlines announced a new multi-year full-content agreement, which sees, Ethiopia’s flag carrier selecting Travelport’s Travel Commerce Platform to promote its full inventory across the globe. Under the agreement, Travelport’s technology will support Ethiopian Airlines market and retail their offerings, in a more visual and effective way to a network of over 68,000 Travelport-connected travel agents in over 180 countries worldwide. The two companies have also renewed their long-term operator agreement, which will continue to see Ethiopian Airlines distributing Travelport’s technology in the country. This means that the Ethiopian customer base will continue to take advantage of Ethiopian Airlines’ regional expertise, and Travelport’s revolutionary products and services, including the industry-leading point of sale solution for agencies, Travelport Smartpoint, which was recently upgraded to further boost agent efficiency. Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines said: “We are very happy to continue and expand our collaboration with Travelport. As travel technology advances, Travelport will support our business meeting and exceeding travellers personalized needs. Travelport’s innovative solutions and unrivalled choice of travel content provide many opportunities to make our business stronger and we are looking forward to continuing to support the travel industry in Africa.” Rabih Saab, Travelport’s President & Managing Director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia, commented: “We are delighted to cement a successful 20 year relationship with Ethiopian Airlines, an airline that has established itself as a key component in the development of travel and tourism in the region , by signing both a full content and operator agreement. Travelport is committed to deliver a world of consumer ready content to the travel agent community and travellers, and support the country’s travel and tourism industry. …

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Marriott signs new deal with Khamas Group

Senior members from Marriott International and Khamas Group at the signing

With an aim to add 250 rooms to the company’s UAE portfolio in 2020, Marriott International has entered an agreement with the Khamas Group of Investment LLC for a Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott in Dubai’s upcoming Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC). The two hotels combined will further strengthen the company’s regional presence in the mid-market segment. Courtyard by Marriott JVC will offer 150 rooms and Residence Inn by Marriott JVC will add another 100 rooms to the upcoming development. The interconnected hotel complex will share facilities including food and beverage outlets, a health and leisure club with a swimming pool and meeting spaces. “We are excited to work with the Khamas Group to open a new Courtyard and Residence Inn in the up and coming JVC Development which is strategically located and in close proximity to the site of the World Expo in 2020. Not only does this agreement illustrate our commitment to growing Marriott International’s portfolio in the UAE but it also reinforces the demand for mid-market hotel development in the market,” said Jerome Briet, Vice President – Lodging Development, Middle East, Marriott International. Commenting on the signing, Bader Mohamed Yousuf Bukhamas, Chairman of Khamas Group of Investment Companies said, “We are happy to partner with the best operator, Marriott International and looking forward to the opening of the Hotel.” Pawan Kachroo, Managing Director of Khamas Hospitality added, “The Courtyard and Residence Inn are both internationally renowned brands that offer guests not only quality hotel and residence products and facilities but also a high level of service excellence. Along with exciting food and beverage concepts, we look forward to bringing a refreshing hospitality experience in the …

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