Category Archives: Movements

Ishraq Hospitality announces Alexander Suski as new Acting CEO

Ishraq Hospitality, a division of Mohamed & Obaid AlMullaGroup, one of the most dynamic and prominent business houses in UAE, appoints Alexander Suski as Acting Chief Executive Officer. Mr Suski is moving up to Acting CEO from his role as Group Director, Commercial and Business Development, IshraqHospitality, where he was overseeing commercial operations and strategic expansion of seven hotel properties under InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG Hotels & Resorts) and Wyndham franchises. In addition, he was responsible for driving short- and long-term commercial strategies for the portfolio and developing Ishraq Hospitality’s well-recognized Hospitality Advisory Services for investors or hotel owners. Suski has over 18 years of industry experience that spans Europe and MEA, with more than a decade of strategic development in sales and marketing in the region’s hospitality industry. He was Associate Vice President Sales and Marketing, Millennium Hotels and Resorts Middle East and Africa, overlooking a portfolio of 48 properties and over 40 future openings in the region. Prior to that, Suski was Area Director of Sales and Marketing Egypt and Bahrain, Kempinksi Hotels, moving to UAE as Director of Sales and Marketing at Kempinski Hotel Ajman and Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. In this role, he reinvigorated sales and marketing strategies, market share, profit expansion and hotel brand repositioning to accelerate growth. Suski’s more than a decade-long valuable experience in Europe is integral to his vast understanding of the hospitality sector.  He has worked with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (IHG) in Warsaw, Sofitel Luxury Hotels (Accor) in Bruges-Ghent-Brussels-Luxemburg-Amsterdam, Crowne Plaza (IHG) in Brussels and De Dikke Van Dale (Fletcher Hotels) in Holland. His leadership capabilities, customer-focused approach, communication skills, matched with innovative thinking and a thorough understanding …

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Four Seasons appoints Marc Speichert as Executive VP and CEO

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announces the addition of Marc Speichert to its executive leadership team in the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “Marc is an outstanding marketer and strategic business builder – a digital innovator with a global outlook who understands the evolving needs of the luxury consumer,” says John Davison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “His experience and vision will be fundamental to the path forward for Four Seasons, driving continued customer growth, revenue and brand recognition.” “Marc’s global experience and marketing acumen are matched by his reputation as an inspiring leader, with a collaborative style that extends through his work and to those he works with. His appreciation for Four Seasons people, culture and values further strengthens our executive team as we continue to extend Four Seasons leadership position worldwide,” continues Davison. Commenting on his new role, Speichert says, “Four Seasons leadership legacy is undisputed in the luxury space. This is a company that continually embraces new opportunities, while remaining focused on its core business principles and unwavering in its commitment to excellence. The opportunity to play a role in the growth of this iconic luxury brand is tremendously exciting. There is unlimited potential ahead and I look forward to collaborating with Four Seasons teams around the world to continue elevating the guest experience and deepening the connection with those who know and love Four Seasons.”

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Israel reopens inbound tourism with global campaign launch in Dubai

Israel is reopening its doors to vaccinated tourists starting at the end of May, supported by the launch of a strategic campaign that ensures as many foreign tourist arrivals as possible in 2021.  The announcement was made by the Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen at a press conference held in Tel Aviv.  “Israel today is a world leader in safety and health, and we will make sure every potential tourist knows this when planning their summer or winter vacation,” Farkash-Hacohen stated, “We cannot miss this opportunity – and, as minister of tourism, we won’t.” “Dubai has great tourism potential for Israel,” the Minister said, adding “The UK and the US have always been large markets for inbound tourism to Israel. I have no doubt, we will see many tourists from all three countries within a short period of time.” Farkash-Hacohen also announced the ministry would reinstate a directive incentivizing foreign airlines to operate flights to the Ramon Airport located outside of Eilat. The incentive, which was in place before the COVID pandemic, is now being budgeted at a cap of NIS 25 Million, which will enable foreign carriers to receive financial incentives for every tourist they bring to Israel. “In recent years, Indian travellers have become familiar with the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and now we want to introduce them to the resort city of Eilat, on the shores of Red Sea.  Once international travel resumes from India, we are confident that Eilat will be a destination on the minds of the Indian travellers, so we want to make progress with potential flight routes when the demand comes.” said Sammy Yahia, Director of Tourism, India & Philippines. “Ensuring …

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UAE, KSA travellers to focus on mental wellbeing for post-COVID travel: Collinson

New research from global traveller experiences expert Collinson has found that in the future, 76% of travellers in the UAE and 80% in KSA have said they’ll be prioritising their mental wellbeing more when they travel now than they did before COVID-19. Despite there being a pent up demand for travel in the region, the majority of travellers (62% in the UAE and 67% in KSA) think travel post-pandemic will be more stressful in the current climate. When asked what travel brands could do to help the situation, in both countries, 38% of travellers said they would value propositions from providers that prioritise their mental wellbeing. Travellers also highlighted additional services that they would be willing to pay for to improve their wellbeing at the airport. These included spaces such as airport lounge access, as many as 37% would pay for this in KSA whilst 30% of UAE respondents would pay for a quiet place in which to sit and relax. 18% in the UAE and 28% in KSA have also said they would pay extra for access to airport sleep pods. Priyanka Lakhani, Director South Asia and Commercial Director Middle East and Africa at Collinson said, “In the context of travel during Covid-19, it’s often the conversation around physical wellbeing that has dominated so it’s very insightful to understand more about the importance passengers in the region place on the emotional and mental wellbeing aspects of their journey. While hygiene measures are critical, looking after travellers’ all-round wellness across the travel experience will be just as important and will help the travel industry shape its offering to encourage and rebuild traveller confidence. The travel industry needs to stay flexible, …

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Radisson opens its first hotel in Jeddah with the world’s first female Saudi GM

Maram Kokandi

Park Inn by Radisson announced the opening of its first hotel in Jeddah. The newest addition brings the group’s portfolio to over 45 hotels, resorts and serviced apartments in operation and under development, accelerating Radisson Hotel Group’s expansion across the country. In addition to celebrating the opening of its latest addition to its growing portfolio in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Radisson Hotel Group is also marking another milestone in the Group’s commitment to Balanced Leadership, and its drive to improve diversity and inclusion within its business. Maram Kokandi, General Manager of the Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road made history, with her appointment as the world’s first female Saudi General Manager in the global hospitality industry. Tim Cordon, Area Senior Vice President, Middle East & Africa, Radisson Hotel Group, said, “Our aim is to become the go-to hotelier for local guests and business travelers whilst empowering the Saudi working population simultaneously. As a pioneer and strong advocate of balanced leadership, we were the first hotel group to appoint a Saudi female GM in the Kingdom and it has been an honor to support Maram in her momentous progression.” Maram Kokandi, General Manager Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road and first female Saudi GM in the Kingdom said, “I can’t begin to describe how much being the first female Saudi GM means to me, both personally and professionally. It’s my aim to make a difference by empowering the younger generation and supporting them with their dreams. Introducing a new brand to the Jeddah market, allows us to showcase the brand’s unique affordability, convenience and difference.”

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Rotana President and CEO shares message of hope for Ramadan

Guy Hutchinson, President and CEO of Rotana, has issued a statement outlining his hopes for the future of the hospitality industry in the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Hutchinson praised the region’s governments, frontline healthcare professionals and other key workers for their decisive response to the global crisis, and urged the public to adhere to social distancing guidelines during the holy month of Ramadan. “Although we will miss our traditional gatherings, this is a sacrifice we must all be prepared to accept for the greater good. By uniting behind this shared sense of purpose, we are coming together as a community in new and profound ways,” commented Hutchinson. He went on to share details of Rotana’s efforts to support guests, staff and communities across the region, which include the adoption of stringent hygiene protocols and extending the use of Rotana properties to governments to assist in their efforts to combat the spread of the virus. The statement ended on an optimistic note, as Hutchinson shared his vision for the industry in a post-crisis landscape, “The hospitality sector will surely recover. Whether our new reality will be the same as before remains to be seen. Speaking as a passionate hotelier, I would like to think there will be some differences. I believe the dark hours we have faced will lead to a heightened appreciation for the joy of travel, making us realise just how privileged we are to serve our guests through this incredible industry. Together, we will reach those brighter days ahead.”

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GNTO appoints Yamina Sofo as its new director

The German National Tourist Office, Gulf countries (GNTO) has appointed Yamina Sofo as its new Director Sales & Marketing. In her new capacity, Yamina Sofo will provide leadership and strategic direction to the Gulf region team, manage a wide range of marketing campaigns and activities as well as work closely with the local and overseas trade partners and industry stakeholders to promote ‘Destination Germany’ as a year-round travel destination throughout the Gulf region. Speaking on her appointment, Sofo commented, “I’m proud to say that Gulf region is among the Top 20 of the most important source markets to Germany and the third largest source market outside Europe. Due to its diversity, Germany is one of the preferred travel destinations for the GCC nationals, whether for wellness and recreation, nature and sightseeing or simply for entertainment and shopping – offering high quality services, great value for money, luxury accommodation and facilities as well as environmentally-friendly transportation links throughout the entire country.” Commenting on the recent lockdown, Yamina said, “In spite of the lockdown, the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has launched “#DiscoverGermanyFromHome”, a joined communication campaign on all social media channels worldwide to communicate inspiring, emphatic and informative content with tomorrow’s travellers in an engaging and interactive way.”

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Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry is the new GM of ATDD

Ferghal Purcell, COO, Hospitality Management Holding (HMH), welcomed Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, the new General Manager of Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD), at Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel. During his visit,  Geziry met the various team members as well as saw the fabulous facilities at the hotel. Congratulating Saleh Al Geziry on his new role, Purcell said, “It is an enormous privilege to welcome Mr. Saleh Al Geziry at Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel. Over the years we have enjoyed working closely with Ajman Tourism Development Department and are eager to continue our collaboration. In keeping with the vision of the authorities, Mr. Saleh Al Geziry has got exciting plans for promoting Ajman that will further accelerate the demand for this superb destination.  We are thrilled to be part of it and delighted to extend our full support.”

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Sabre promotes Sean Menke to President and CEO

Sabre Corporation’s board of directors has appointed Sean Menke as President, CEO and a member of Sabre’s board, effective Dec 31, 2016. Menke will succeed Tom Klein, who has served as president, CEO and board member since 2013. “After an extensive search of qualified candidates, the board unanimously concluded that Sean is the right choice to lead Sabre. Since his arrival last year, Sean has demonstrated that his strong industry knowledge and expertise coupled with his decisive, results-oriented management style are an effective combination. These traits will help Sabre drive innovation as the travel industry’s technology leader and serve the needs of airlines, hotels, travel agents and travelers alike.  I look forward to working with Sean to make this happen,” said Larry Kellner, executive chairman of Sabre’s Board of Directors. Menke joined Sabre in October 2015 and currently serves as executive vice president of Sabre and president of Sabre Travel Network, Sabre’s largest line of business.  Under Menke’s leadership, Sabre Travel Network has won major new business opportunities, increased global market share and secured Sabre’s position as the leading global distribution system in three of its four major operating regions (North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific), and successfully extended new multi-year agreements with many of its largest global travel management companies, online travel agencies and travel retailers.  In addition, he has led the innovation that enables the sale of more customized fares and ancillary products through Sabre Travel Network and strengthened the technology solutions that will be offered to travel agencies next year as part of the launch of the new Sabre Red platform.  Prior to Sabre, Menke served as CEO of Frontier Airlines and held senior executive positions at …

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Ramy Khairallah is new GM at Grand Excelsior Hotel Al Barsha

Ramy Khairallah has been appointed as the new General Manager of Grand Excelsior Hotel – Al Barsha. With his expertise in revenue management, sales and marketing, he is now entrusted by Bin Haider Hospitality division of Mohammed Omar Bin Haider Group to oversee the daily successful operation of this 230 rooms property as the leading hotel branch of its brand. His previous appointment includes Louvre Hotels Group and Starwood Hotels and Resorts-The Luxury Collections where he stemmed the passion in developing sustainable environment through sharing his ideas of green initiatives.

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