07 May 2014


CEO and board member of Gulf Hotels, Aqeel Raees, today announced at Arabian Travel Market that the Bahrain-based hospitality group has acquired land for the construction of a five-star, 230-room hotel in Business Bay, Dubai, that will open in 2017.

“We are also sourcing a second site in Dubai and currently considering a number of prime locations,” he added.

In addition, Raees said plans were in hand for a new serviced apartment facility in Juffair, Bahrain, the third addition to the Gulf Residence chain of luxury serviced apartments operated by Gulf Hotels.

In other news, he said work had begun on a 3,100 sq metre spa facility at the flagship Gulf Hotel in Bahrain, as well as a new commercial laundry.

The group manages the Ocean Paradise Resort in Zanzibar and the four-star K Hotel in Juffair as well as the Gulf Residence Amwaj, the latter including two fully-serviced apartment buildings opening later this year.

Media contact:
Yasmeen Al Zuhair
+973 3655 0080



Expanding on its presence in Saudi Arabia - where it currently has nine properties - Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts revealed plans at Arabian Travel Market for a new hotel in Jeddah - the 230-room Mövenpick Hotel Heraa Jeddah will be the group’s third property in the city.

Mövenpick currently operates 27 hotels in the Middle East, out of a global portfolio of 80, and according to president and ceo Jean Gabriel Pérès, is looking at the potential for additional properties in the UAE to augment its portfolio of six hotels in Dubai.

“During the course of the next 12 months, Mövenpick will launch seven new additions spread between Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia,” he said.

As well as opening the 137-room Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul Golden Horn this summer, a 184-room hotel will be launched in Casablanca and a 380-room hotel in Marrakech early next year.

In addition, the group will open a 167-room hotel in Kochi, India, plus a new resort in Pattaya, Thailand, early in 2015.

Meanwhile, summer promotions being circulated to the trade at ATM include offers of discounts of up to 30 per cent on room rates between June and end September.

Media Contact
Laura Perez Dias
+971-4 365 4712



While the Middle East remains potentially the fastest-growing and most important global aviation market, headlong growth by regional carriers could be affected by congestion in the skies, according to CEO of Flynas, Raja Azmi.

Speaking at an aviation seminar at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, he said congestion was already an issue at hubs such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as availability of slots at Jeddah.

“This has to be tackled when airlines here have orders for 200 aircraft or more each,” he said. 

A reassuring note was given by Bashar Jawhari, VP corporate strategy & communications at Abu Dhabi Airports, who said there were ongoing talks at government level within the GCC and a breakthrough was expected to tackle potential congestion: “We expect to resolve this issue in the near future,” he said.

Despite these concerns, the outlook for the GCC aviation market remains bullish, with Boeing predicting a demand for at least 2,600 new aircraft over the next 20 years, according to Michael L Warner, Boeing customer leader for airplane development, who cited three key reasons for continued growth.

“The geographical location with 80 per cent of the world’s population within eight hours’ flying time, plus close co-ordination between players such as airlines, airport and governments and strong brands such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are sustainable drivers for growth and an advantage over competition in regions such as Asia and Europe,” he said.

Media contact:
Nathalie Visele, Shamal Marketing Communications
+971 50 457 6525




CEO of Saudi Arabia-based flynas, Raja Azmi, has predicted its enhanced low cost model (LCC+) will reap rewards by offering non-stop routes in to the Kingdom from international markets as an alternative to one-stop services on other regional carriers.

The Jeddah-based airline launched a three-times weekly A330 direct service from Jeddah to London Gatwick last month – its first European route - as part of an expansion strategy that aims to connect Saudi Arabia to Manchester, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Karachi and Casablanca.

Speaking at Arabian Travel Market, Azmi said flynas had amended its business model from that of a traditional LCC to accommodate demand from the regional market:  “We had added a dedicated business class as the market in the Middle East is different to that in Asia or Europe, for example.”

While high fuel costs and a cap on domestic airfares handicap competition in the Saudi market, Azmi said the airline was tapping in to a variety of markets through a strategy that combined hub/spoke and point to point operations, low cost operations with a value proposition.

“Saudi Arabia has the biggest domestic market in the region but other GCC carriers are carrying (religious) tourists in to the country – we need our share of that market and can offer short haul connectivity with our new long haul routes.”

Media contact:
Nathalie Visele, Shamal Marketing Communications
+971 50 457 6525





The award for the Middle East’s Leading Airport Hotel has been won by the Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai for the second year running at the World Travel Awards 2014.

Presented at a gala ceremony at the JW Marriott Marquis prior to the opening of Arabian Travel Market, the award marks the third time the hotel has beaten off regional competition to win the public vote – having originally captured the title of best airport hotel in 2008.

According to general manager Simon Moore, the ranking as preferred accommodation for travellers transiting the region is an acknowledgement of the professionalism of the hotel staff and their ability to cater instantly to demanding guests with little time to spare.

“We often run at 100 per cent occupancy and have to cope with large numbers of passengers at times when weather or other circumstances might delay their departure,” he said.  “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of my team.”

Media contact:
Kate McGeever, Shamal Marketing Communications
+971 50 4345 7982




Abu Dhabi will host a three-month season of summer entertainments running from June 5 to August 31 that includes top international shows, film and theatre premieres, ballet, music concerts, comedy nights, illusionists, contemporary circus spectaculars, live shows for children and special arrangements to screen FIFA World Cup football matches, as well as a host of locally-produced activities in hotels, malls and attractions.

Announcing the programme at ATM in Dubai yesterday, Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director at Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) said that by linking with leading event producers and stakeholders in the emirate, the programme of events was designed to deliver an unforgettable season for residents and visitors, particularly those we are hoping to attract from throughout the GCC and India.
“We are moving towards becoming a year-round destination with this programme designed to appeal to all nationalities and ages to extend our seasonal appeal – and we want to persuade travellers that any time is a good time to have a great time in Abu Dhabi,” he added.

FLASH Entertainment will stage six headline events from July 28 until August 29. The du Forum, Yas Island, will be transformed into Abu Dhabi’s largest FIFA World Cup viewing venue seating 800 fans and the hub of Ramadan festivities from June 12 - while FLASH will also run family events in Al Gharbia, Abu Dhabi’s Western Region, and the emirate’s heritage heartland of Al Ain during August.

Other highlights include the inaugural event with the Royal Moscow Ballet performance of Cinderella from June 6 to 16 at ADNEC, plus shadow theatre performances and the contemporary circus theatrical La Verità – which features a gigantic, original backdrop created in New York in 1944 by the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali.

Meanwhile, Yas Island’s hotels and attractions are offering 2 for 1 deals which will run until September 30. This includes offers at restaurants, spas and the key leisure attractions of Yas Marina Circuit, the Yas Links golf course, Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

TCA Abu Dhabi will promote the summer season with a GCC roadshow from May 18-27 and through a partnership marketing deal with DNATA which includes mall activations in the UAE and India… and full details are available or Hashtag #ADsummer.

Media contact:
Saeed Al Tunaiji, PR, TCA Abu Dhabi
+971 2 4181456




The 203-room Shaza Amman will open on December 6 this year, according to the group’s hotel operations manager, Jamal Wick, who said it marked an important step in expansion plans that will take in four additional properties in three Middle East countries.

Speaking at Arabian Travel Market, he said that the Amman hotel would be the second Shaza hotel to open after the Shaza Al Madina in Saudi Arabia.

“In 2015 we will open at The Wave development in Muscat, and then the following year we will launch hotels in Salalah and in central Doha,” he said.  “This will be followed in 2017 by a landmark property in Jeddah that will be connected on three floors to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce building.”

The Shaza Amman will be part of a mixed use complex in the Jordanian capital, the nearest five-star hotel to the international airport, and will feature the city’s largest hammam and spa, two specialty restaurants and a ballroom with panoramic view.

It will have 45 suites, three Silk Floor executive floors, a rooftop garden cinema lounge, a theatre-style restaurant and another destination restaurant and a kids’ club.

Shaza Hotels is an independent five star hotel operator, supported by an affiliation with Kempinski  and Guidance Hotel Investment Company - Shaza’s regional financial partner. It is also a member of the Global Hotel Alliance.

Media contact:
Katrina Thornely
+971-50 658 3952

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