Qatar Airways strengthens commitment to JetSuite fleet expansion

Posted by - July 20, 2018

Following the news in April that Qatar Airways had purchased a minority stake in US based private aviation firm JetSuite, the two companies have reaffirmed the relationship by committing to the expansion of both JetSuite and JetSuiteX.
The post Qatar Airways strengthens commitment to JetSuite fleet expansion appeared first on Travel Daily Media.

Marriott International to offer hospitality training programme in Egypt

Posted by - July 19, 2018

Marriott International unveils Tahseen at a signing ceremony in Egypt. Marriott International recently launched Tahseen, its hospitality training programme developed in response to a growing need for talent within the industry, in Eqypt.
Created in partnership with Helwan University and Professional Development Foundation (PDF), the programme is focused on fast-tracking the next generation of hospitality leaders from Egypt by providing them with firsthand experience and a springboard to launch successful careers in the industry.
Tahseen was first launched by Marriott International in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and received very encouraging results paving the way for a wider regional roll out. Egypt is a strategic growth market for the company and was therefore an obvious priority. Tahseen Egypt, which is set to commence in September, provides the technical training that complements the newly initiated “Hotel Management & Operations” Bachelor’s Degree programme created through the joint efforts of the PDF and Helwan University.
Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International, said: “Marriott International is a company that believes in putting people first and we are committed to giving our associates the world class training and the opportunity to grow and reach their potential, both personally and professionally.
“Our vision is to develop future leaders, empowered with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to be successful within the hospitality industry, both regionally and globally. Building a sustainable and robust hospitality education programme like Tahseen, that nurtures and builds national talent, is indeed key to our success”.
“Hospitality comes naturally to Egyptians”
Related Posts Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, added: “Today we employ over 10,200 associates across our hotels in Egypt with 99% of them being local Egyptian nationals. Hospitality comes naturally to Egyptians. We therefore saw an opportunity and felt the need to play a more active role in the development of local talent in a formal and structured manner.
“We are delighted to partner with Helwan University and Professional Development Foundation, for what is truly a pioneering effort in imparting quality hospitality education in the country by opening doors of opportunity for the youth.”
Mohamed Farouk Hafeez, chairman, Professional Development Foundation (PDF), concluded: “I hope that together we will be able to make a valuable contribution in creating a successful and sustainable programme that not only empowers our youth by increasing their employability but also enables them to make a smooth and seamless transition into the professional world.”
Tahseen falls under Marriott International’s new sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, which guides how the company makes a positive and sustainable impact wherever it does business.
Marriott International is the largest international operator in Egypt with a footprint of 18 operating hotels and resorts and more than 7,400 rooms across 7 brands. With four hotels in the pipeline, the company will add another 1200 rooms, debuting new brands including St. Regis and Element. By 2020, the hotel giant will have 22 operating hotels with more than 8,600 rooms.

Sudan appoints VFS Global for first visa application centre in Saudi Arabia

Posted by - July 19, 2018

Ambassador Abdulbasit Badawi Al-Sanousi (second from left) inaugurates the visa application centre The Embassy of the Republic of Sudan in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in partnership with VFS Global, today announced the opening of its first visa application centre in the world, in Riyadh.
The Embassy will not be accepting visa application submissions at its offices anymore and applicants need to approach VFS Global to process visas to Sudan. In addition to visa processing, VFS Global will also offer legalisation services at the Sudan visa application centre.
Managed by professionals trained to provide processing of entry permit requirements, the VFS Global Sudan visa application centre comes with an accessible location and automated queue governance for smooth flow of applicants.
Related Posts Potential applicants can also access a dedicated website for information on visa categories, requirements, check-list and applicable fees. Like all its centres, this one too offers premium lounge for more personalised service, secure handling of passports, documents and personal information and door-step delivery of passport.
“First time ever Sudan has joined hands with a third party to outsource visa processing”
Opening the new visa application centre, the ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to Saudi Arabia, Abdulbasit Badawi Al-Sanousi said: “This is the first time ever Sudan has joined hands with a third party to outsource visa processing. Indeed, we are glad to partner with VFS Global acclaimed for its outsourced visa processing expertise across the world. For us, Riyadh visa application centre is the first and we would look forward to open many more such centres across the world.”
Vinay Malhotra, regional group COO for Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, added: “Sudan is one of our newest client governments and represents yet another milestone in the growth of VFS Global which now serves 60 governments, offering our expertise in visa processing services across our centres, globally. Being a customer-centric entity, VFS Global will ensure that applicants get a seamless experience while applying for visas.” launches Hideaway Hotels category for off-the-grid travellers

Posted by - July 18, 2018

Four Seasons Resort Sayan has introduced the Hideaway Hotels category in response to a lift in bookings in the last two years, with a 60% spike in guests leaving positive reviews for off-the-grid hotels.
As modern-day travellers seek unique and personalised bucket-list experiences, unusual or off-grid destinations are ruling the booking charts. According to, online reviews have been looking positive with 60% of guests, leaving glowing reviews for locations such as private islands (50%), deep in the woods (50%) and forests (30%).
“A huge uplift in a desire to escape the city and head for the hills”
Johan Svanstrom, president of the brand, said: “Thanks to our 25 million guest reviews, we’ve seen a huge uplift in a desire to escape the city and head for the hills – in some cases, quite literally! Going ‘off-grid’ seems to be a trend many guests are positively highlighting more and more in their reviews.
To capitalise on this trend, has launched a new Hideaway Hotels category in its annual reviews-driven Loved by Guests awards. It includes properties such as Four Seasons Resort Sayan in the middle of the jungle in Bali, Icehotel amidst the snow and ice in Sweden and Silostay in New Zealand which offer accommodations in reclaimed containers.

Svanstrom added: “The launch of our new Loved by Guests awards category will provide more inspiration and opportunity for travellers to stay in hotels they didn’t even know existed; whether they are in the desert, the forest, the jungle or even up a mountain. The ultimate way to have a rewarding holiday experience plus extra bragging rights!”
Desert Nights, UAE – Anantara Qasr al Sarab Desert Related Posts A hotel nestled among spectacular sand dunes, Anantara Qasr al Sarab Desert is the quintessential ‘middle of nowhere’ hotel. Shoes off, toes in the sand, this breath-taking luxury hotel with spa and safari offers plenty of space to unwind.
Icey Tundra, Sweden – Icehotel This epic location is just the spot to rug up and take a moment to freeze in time. There are endless opportunities to chill and hopefully enjoy the stunning Northern Lights. There is a selection of warm and cold room types available, including the Art Suites, each individually hand carved and kept between -5 and -8 degrees Celsius.
Rural Retreat, Chile – Remota Hotel Hidden in Chilean Patagonia, a world-famous epicentre of natural beauty, the Remota Hotel is where guests can enjoy breath-taking views of this remote paradise. The hotel offers a marina, spa, pool, garden and library. Guests can use this hotel as a base to explore the nearby native forests, islets, ice fields and glaciers.

Thomas Cook Airlines starts summer 2019 early with new Easter flights

Posted by - July 17, 2018

Thomas Cook Airlines has announce it is adding Easter flights to its schedule at Cardiff airport for the first time, in spring 2019, effectively kicking off summer 2019 a month early.
“A brand new Easter programme”
Operating 11 flights a week from 3 April until the end of the month, the airline is bringing a potential total of 15,000 people to Mediterranean locations like Turkey, Majorca, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Cyprus not to mention the brand new service to Enfidha in Tunisia.
Henry Sunley, commercial director at Thomas Cook Airlines, said: “This is a brand new Easter programme from Cardiff with our season traditionally beginning on May 1. It’s great to be able to reward our customers who fly with us from Cardiff airport with even more choice.”
Related Posts “Cardiff Airport now welcomes more than 1.5 million passengers annually”
Spencer Birns, commercial director for Cardiff Airport, added: “It’s excellent to see one of our valued airline partners adding even more choice for our passengers for Spring and Summer next year.
“Cardiff Airport now welcomes more than 1.5 million passengers annually who are often in search of warmer weather and holiday packages that offer value for money, so Thomas Cook Airlines’ announcement of more seats and a new route to Tunisia for next year is great news for customers who choose to fly from their local airport.”
Locations for the month long promotion include Dalaman, in Turkey for £201.99 (USD 267.68); Palma de Majorca from £59.99, Tunisia from £141.99, Cyprus from £118.99, and Tenerife from £146.99.

UAE’s Yas Island announces more than 40 events for 2018

Posted by - July 13, 2018

Eid Al Adha Fireworks Yas Island, UAE’s premier entertainment destination and international tourist hub, has revealed its biggest events calendar to date featuring old favourites and ten new events.
From Formula 1 race tracks to water parks and the world’s top hotel brands, Yas Island has got it all. Over the years, it has become an international go-to destination for tourists looking for the best holiday experiences in the world.
This year, it aims to be even bigger by revealing its fullest events calendar yet. With 40 new and returning events, the line-up boasts an extensive selection of international shows, cultural festivities and entertainment events. It includes the Eid and National Day, Neon Nights, the Caribbean Beach Festival, Yas Movies in the Park, Taste of Abu Dhabi, Festival of Lights, Winter Carnival, and the debut of new events such as Sparkles of India, the Yas Gaming Festival, Neorun, and The Big Grill Festival.
Yas Waterworld Neon Nights “Bring ten new sensational events to Yas Island for the very first time”
Commenting on the line-up, Gerardo Llanes, executive director – Destination Management at Yas Island, said: “We are very excited to announce our calendar of events and to bring ten new sensational events to Yas Island for the very first time, alongside old favourites that our visitors have come to know and love. As always, we have made sure to include an abundance of family festivals and events that visitors of all ages can enjoy.”
Related Posts Taste of Abu Dhabi The Eid Al Adha celebrations will feature three days of fireworks by the Yas Marina promenade in addition to celebrations taking place at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, the new Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and Yas Mall. Also joining this year’s line-up is the Yas Gaming Festival, an 11-day gaming tournament which is set to put avid gamers’ skills to the test.
For movie lovers, Yas Movies in the Park will be at du Arena this coming October featuring a West End cast. Visitors can also enjoy Cinema Under the Stars at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi which will be featuring fan-favourite blockbusters for eight weeks during November and December.
Winter Carnival “Yas Island continues to reinforce its status as a world-class entertainment destination, drawing in visitors from around the world. With our varied line-up of international shows, events and activities, we have no doubt that our visitors from far and wide will enjoy unforgettable experiences this events season on Yas Island.” Llanes added.
Before the year ends, Yas Island visitors can head down to Yas Marina to ring in the new year in style with a spectacular fireworks display. Visitors and travel agents are encouraged to plan their itineraries and book their tickets ahead of time.

Etihad’s two new medical services are first in Middle East

Posted by - July 12, 2018

Etihad Airways is always looking for ways to better serve its passengers. In the past this has included breaking punctuality records and introducing designer amenities for economy passengers. But now, the airline has gone one step further with the introduction of two medical services for fliers with pre-existing medical conditions.
Presented as a way to help ensure the care of its customers, both services, the first of their type in the UAE, will be run by professionals from the airline’s dedicated medical team, experts in transport-medicine practices.
The first of these new services has been designed for guests who require medical clearance prior to travel and enables them to request a visit from the airline’s doctors to conduct an evaluation, in consultation with their attending physician. The doctor will then complete all necessary documentation on site. This means, according to Etihad, that the guest will receive recommendation about their “fit to fly” status within a day.

The second service is the introduction of an in-flight nurse who can accompany guests during their trip and provide medical support.
Related Posts Dr. Nadia Bastaki, vice president of Etihad Airways medical services, said: “Etihad is delighted to be the first airline in the region to provide these new medical services which will cater for guests who require medical assistance during their travel. Both services will help ensure our guests have a smooth and hassle-free journey, greatly removing unnecessary anxiety they sometimes feel when travelling.”
“There are increasing demands for guests to travel to Abu Dhabi or abroad to seek treatment for their medical conditions”
Following my request for further comment as to why Etihad felt the need for the provision of these medical services, Dr Bastaki said: “There are increasing demands for guests to travel to Abu Dhabi or abroad to seek treatment for their medical conditions. The one-stop-shop services will be carried out by members of the Etihad medical team, all of whom are qualified in aviation transport medicine and critical care.
Dr Bastak went on to say: “In addition, the medical assistance approval process is extensive and challenging for guests or government authorities to secure all necessary information efficiently. Knowing the struggle of our guests, the medical services have tailored these two unique services to support guests with medical conditions during their travel with Etihad Airways.”

Turkey returns as a summer favourite

Posted by - July 12, 2018

Turkey is well and truly back on the map as a top summer holiday location says a survey by TUI. Featuring in the five most booked TUI destinations by 11 countries’ travellers including the UK, Turkey ranked third behind stalwarts Spain and Greece. Italy is the fourth most popular place to jet away to, followed by Cyprus in fifth place.
As for other Europeans, Spain still tops the holiday charts for UK holidaymakers with most TUI customers looking to relax on the ‘Love Island’ of Majorca. Greece and Cyprus come in at numbers 2 and 3 with Turkey and Mexico in 4th and 5th place.
Along with Cancun and Majorca, the UK favours Tenerife, Ibiza and Paphos whilst Antalya is the most popular Turkish location. Crete, Rhodes and Kos are top choices for Greece. Although there are some clear travel trends across all regions, most notably Spain, Greece and Turkey, there are some distinct preferences too.
Summer hotspots from UK TUI offers seven night holidays to Cancun, Mexico staying at the 4T RIU Caribe on an all-inclusive basis from GBP 1,511(USD 2000) per person. Price is based on twin-sharing and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 3 August 2018 and transfers.
Related Posts TUI offers seven night holidays to Majorca, Spain staying at the 4T Hotel Rocamarina on a half board basis from GBP 742 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 4 August 2018 and transfers.
TUI offers seven night holidays to Greece staying at the 3T Sun Boutique Hotel on a bed & breakfast basis from GBP 782 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 2 August 2018 and transfers.
TUI offers seven night holidays to Cyprus staying at the 3T+ Aloe on a bed & breakfast basis from GBP 808 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from London Stansted airport on 4 August 2018 and transfers.
TUI offers seven night holidays to Turkey staying at the 3T+ Club Aqua Plaza on an all-inclusive basis from GBP 853 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from London Stansted airport on 3 August 2018 and transfers.

Yabba Dabba Doo: Warner Brothers World Abu Dhabi launches in July

Posted by - July 12, 2018

Warner Bros Dubai Plaza In just under two weeks, on 25 July, the anticipated indoor theme park Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, will fling open its doors to the general public for the first time, inviting guests to meet and mingle with some of the iconic film studio and entertainment giant’s most beloved characters, across six especially themed zones.
Found on the region’s well known man-made Yas Island, the six zones of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will include Cartoon Junction Warner Bros and Bedrock, home of the Flintstones – not to mention the two Metropolis and Gotham City “lands” dedicated to DC superheroes Superman and Batman respectively.
Spread over an impressive 153290 sqm, the park will feature 29 “state-of-the-art rides”, such as The Flintstones Bedrock River Adventure, Marvin the Martian Crater Crashers and Batman: Knight Flight – the zones are described by the park’s developers, Miral, as “fully immersive” and promise a unique interactive environment for guests.

Related Posts Commenting on the parks fast approaching launch His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Miral, said: “The launch of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is yet another milestone in the Emirate’s journey to further enrich its tourism offering, and help establish it as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. The park is another great addition to Yas Island’s immersive experiences and award-winning attractions.”
It gives us great pride to have partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to launch the world’s largest Warner Bros. branded indoor theme park right here in Abu Dhabi. As part of our fulfilment to Abu Dhabi’s ambition to drive increased visitors and enhance the UAE’s appeal as an international destination, we are thrilled that fans will be able to enjoy the outcome of this partnership and the massive, fun and engaging park offerings in a few months,” Al Mubarak continued.
Enthusing over the prospect of the rides Mark Gsellman, park general manager, said: “We’re incredibly delighted to bring iconic animated characters to life through none other than the park’s very own Bedrock and Dynamite Gulch. The characters in these lands have fascinated fans of every age for decades, and it will be a dream come true for many of our guests to walk the streets they know and love.
From Bedrock’s picturesque rocky landscape, featuring towering plants, a landmark river and a waterfall, to Dynamite Gulch’s lifelike rustic desert— this section of the park is guaranteed to be a charming, heart-warming and fun-filled retreat for the whole family.”

Expedia highlights hotelier opportunities as Dubai confirmed as ME’s top destination in 2018

Posted by - July 11, 2018

The Dubai skyline Fresh from informing UK hoteliers how best to prepare for influx of visitors during the recent Royal Wedding, Expedia Group has now put together a study which reveals which have been the world’s most popular destinations in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2018, so far.
Pulling together data from across its platform, Expedia discovered that London came out as top dog during Q1 of 2018, followed by Paris, with Dubai grabbing the bronze medal. The top five was rounded out by Rome and Amsterdam.
Dubai taking third place across the whole EMEA region of course means that the city is the Middle East’s prime location for travel and tourism. There are many reasons for the success of the city but Expedia has cited Dubai’s incredible shopping as the main pull, as well as the thriving live entertainment scene – which has witnessed Biffy Clyro, Liam Payne of One Direction and Steps all making appeaances in 2018.
Related Posts “This presents an opportunity to capitalise on this increased demand”
Paula de Keijzer, senior director market management in the Middle East, Indian Ocean, Africa, Greece and Turkey at Expedia Group, said:“Dubai’s location is just one of the many factors that make it a global hub for travel and tourism. We have seen a steady growth in the number of international visitors to the region and this number is likely to keep increasing as the economy grows, especially with the availability of flights and hotels, and the increase in number of tourist attractions in Dubai.
“For hoteliers, this presents an opportunity to capitalise on this increased demand for travel into the Emirate by looking into the travellers origin of country and catering specifically to their needs. For example, tailoring experiences based on language, or offering unique experiences that they might not get anywhere else.”