Airlines & airports
Discounts on flights to Sharm El-Sheikh
IN AN attempt to lure domestic travellers to Sharm El-Sheikh, EgyptAir decided to decrease the rates of the flight tickets to Sharm El-Sheikh by 30 per cent. The discount includes all categories: economy, business and first class.
The company also decided to exempt all of its passangers, on its domestic flights to the tourist destinations, of any cancellation fees or changing of timing which was about 25 per cent of the ticket rate. The offer is valid until mid August.
An official in EgyptAir declares that that decision resulted in a 10 per cent increase in the number of pasangers. He added that the movement dropped drastically after the terrorist attacks on the city of peace but the decision helped in resorting the movement to a big extent.
EgyptAir operates four daily flights from Cairo to Sharm El-Sheikh.
Also, the company of the Arab Union for Land Transportation (Super Jet) declared it is going to offer 50 per cent discount on its road trips to Sharm El-Sheikh for two weeks.
More Itihad flights
STARTING from 1 July, Itihad, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, increased its weekly flights on the Cairo-Abu Dhabi route, inaugurated November 2004, from four to seven. The decision reflects the company's keenness to provide distinguished services for its guests as the tourist season starts. The increase in the number of flights would provide travellers with more choices and allow them to travel day or night from Abu Dhabi to Cairo.
On line booking
BRITISH Airways announced recently that customers can now book and pay for their tickets on-line at ba.com. "We are particularly pleased to be the first airline in Egypt to launch this on-line product to our customers. The facilities available offer a complete package of simple, quick and effective tools to minimise the time and cost involved when travelling," says Chris Phipps, British Airways manager for North Africa.
The website not only helps customers find a destination at a price that suits them, but also allows them to book and pay on-line for their ticket, all from the comfort of their home or office. When visiting the website, customers can sign up for a monthly newsletter that highlights the latest offers and news from British Airways. They can also research their holiday by using the destination guides available on ba.com. By logging onto www.ba.com/ managemybooking customers can select their preferred seat through an interactive seating plan, pre-request special meal requirements like vegetarian food, access arrival and departure flight information, book hotels, rent cars, get insurance, check-in on-line and avoid queuing at the airport (from selected airports around the world).
Mail in the air
FOR A YEAR now passengers have been on-line on board Lufthansa. Together with Connexion by Boeing, the airline offers high-speed internet access above the clouds. On 17 May 2004, on the Munich-Los Angeles route a new age of technology was heralded on long-haul flights with Lufthansa FlyNet. Lufthansa thus became the first airline worldwide to make such a trend-setting offer to its passengers. The FlyNet Service consists of both the free Lufthansa FlyNet portal with comprehensive news, travel information and shopping facilities, as well as Internet access provided by the partner and service provider Connexion by Boeing. Via this access, passengers can surf the www, send and receive e-mails with attachments and access their company's own Intranet (Virtual Private Network) while on board. "From our customers, I know how valuable this service is, particularly for business travellers," Thierry Antinori, vice president of marketing and sales of Lufthansa German Airlines, said. One survey showed that 85 per cent of respondents said the availability of high-speed Internet will influence their choice of an airline in the future.
Passengers can access information on current availability on the FlyNet information pages at www.Lufthansa.com.
Hotels & resorts
Party of the year
HILTON Egypt recently held its annual party at the Hilton Pyramids golf resort with the magnificent setting of the Grand Marquis on the golf course. Under a blanket of stars, a tent was put up on the golf course creating scenery enjoyed by celebrities, ambassadors and businessmen as they listened to the songs of renowned Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram, creative singing troupe Wama and Egyptian singer Talaat Zein. The party was sponsored by Coca Cola, EAB and Johnny Walker.
IN LINE with government plans to place Alexandria on the international tourist map, Sheraton Montazah Hotel recently received a group of American tour operators to enhance tourism from the US to the Mediterranean city. General Manager Atef Wilson together with Ahmed Lashine, deputy director of sales and marketing, and Ahmed Diab sales executive, escorted the group on a tour inside the hotel including its rooms, suites, restaurants and bars.
IN THE Nations Salon Culinary 2005, the national chef's competition, Conrad Cairo Hotel won the gold medal for the main course, the silver medal for finger food and /or snacks and the artistic showpiece and the bronze medal for the starters. The Egyptian Chef's association organised the event where chefs from hotels compete in 13 culinary categories.
STARTING from July to 24 September, you can enjoy a lucrative cruise package offered by Abercrombie & Kent. For $231 per person in a double cabin you can book a three-night cruise on one of the best five-star boats available on the Nile. The offer includes full board programme including buffet breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Tours of Upper Egypt's most stunning temples and tombs in addition to an entertainment programme is also included in the offer. The package also includes meeting and assistance at the airport and transfers to and from the cruise in Luxor and Aswan. The offer is limited to Egyptians and foreign residents.
For more information call (+202) 577 7039.
AS IT gets hotter and guests are drawn more into an open-air venue, InterContinental Citystars recently opened its new outdoor chill spot, the Breeze Café. In a relaxed and casual atmosphere by the pool, you can enjoy an extensive menu, cocktails and aromatic shishas while keeping abreast of current events with large screen TVs or listen to live music played by the Los Cantos band.
While the latest addition to the InterContinental Citystars is the Shahrazad Nightclub, a most luxurious and exclusive club. In a sparkling atmosphere, you can enjoy daily shows by belly dancers, bands and famous singers. And with an exceptional selection of wines and cocktails, experience various sumptuous international cuisine plates.
LE MERIDIEN Heliopolis has re-launched its hot nightspot -- Barracuda Discotheque, where DJ superstar Nour Jamica introduces the latest mix of CDs releases. This musical box has made Heliopolis come alive with its Karaoke nights, plasma screen, belly dancing and international shows. Upon the occsion of the re-launch, Le Meridien Heliopolis hosted a special evening whereby guests enjoyed Le Meridien hospitality.
IF YOU are searching for a honeymoon hideout, you should consider deals offered by El-Gouna on the Red Sea, 20 kilometres north of Hurghada. In El-Gouna Mövenpick Resort, a couple can stay for three nights on half board basis for LE1,980 including all taxes and service charge. They will be received by a welcome drink upon their arrival, will be offered VIP treatment and a honeymoon. The offer is valid until the end of December.
For LE1,620, a couple can spend four nights/five days at the Sheraton Miramar Resort on bed and breakfast basis. The offer includes a complimentary shuttle bus from and to Hurghada Airport, complimentary fruit basket and one candle-lit dinner for the couple at Miramar Restaurant. Offer is valid until 24 October. For a cheaper option, Sultan Bey and Dawar Al-Omda offer four days/three nights per couple for LE999 and LE900 respectively until the end of December.
The Indonesian way
DURING August, and for LE990, Four Seasons Nile Plaza will be offering its guests an Indonesian spa experience. Often described as the queen of body treatments, the Javanese Lulur is a luxurious ritual from the royal palaces of Central Java, Indonesia. This two-and-a-half hour treatment starts with a traditional Balinese deep-tissue massage followed by a Lulur scrub, (its main ingredient is turmeric) which has unique cleansing properties. The body is then coated in a cool yoghurt splash to cleanse and nourish the skin. Then you step into a floral bath of jasmine scent.
For more information call (+202) 791 7000.
A GRAND Latino night was held recently at Hyatt's Hotels and Resorts in Grand Hyatt Hotel where top travel agencies were honoured in a delightful ceremony in Farhaty ballroom overlooking the Nile. The evening started with an elegant cocktail reception, followed by an award presentation to thank the contributors in the success achieved last year.
SunRise Web site
SUNRISE Hotels and Nile cruises will be launching their website and multimedia CD by the end of July 2005. The website and multimedia CD will include a number of e- products like virtual tours, 360 degree images with zoom-in and zoom-out options and image navigating capabilities. This is part of the agreement concluded with Intodevelopment, Egypt's leading travel technology provider. The website www.sunrisehotels.com will include detailed information on the properties of sunrise hotels and Nile cruises -- six hotels and three Nile Cruises. It is supported by photo galleries and on-line booking forms, e-brochures, virtual orientation and virtual fact sheet. The Multimedia CD includes all e-products in addition to other key technical data like high resolution images, fact sheets and logos that are extractable for re-use by resellers.
Shop and win
THE EIGHTH round of the annual Tourism and Shopping Festival has started on 20 July at the InterContinental Citystars. Over the month-long festival, 13 Egyptian cities are particpating including Cairo, Alexandria, Hurghada and Luxor. Various exhibitions are held in each city, for example, the Nasr City Exhibitions Ground and the Cairo International Conference Centre in Cairo, Luxor's Al-Madina Al-Monawara Club and Hurghada's Holiday Hotel exhibition.
Prizes of the festival reach LE1 million through three types of competitions; general knowledge, "buy more, win a lot" and the Americana competition. Hundreds of shops and malls participate in the festival offering buyers discounts and free coupons to win the festival prizes. As well, the Grand Hyatt hosts musical shows introducing famed singers and folkloric dances.
IN SEPTEMBER 2005, the National Geographic Channel will shoot an exploration trip of the Nile entitled "The tracing of the Nile" wherein a team of six people from various nationalities will explore the course of the river Nile until its source.
The trip starts from Alexandria and passes through six countries -- Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The trip is regarded by Egyptian tourist officials as a means of promoting Egyptian tourism. The trip will be covered by a well-known TV channel, meaning large audiences will get to see the sites in Egypt that the team will visit.
The team will face a number of physical, geographical and weather challenges which will add excitement and should attract millions of viewers.
THE INTERNATIONAL documentary film The Trip of the Holy Family in Egypt was released on 27 June during a celebration held at the big theatre at Cairo Opera House. The documentary was produced by the National Egyptian Heritage Revival Association (NEHRA) in cooperation with an American team from the US Pent Pyramids Production Companies that included the writer Paul Perry, director Marlin Darrah and archeologist John Dehrey. The documentary deals with a trip by the writer on the same route believed to have been taken by the Holy Family in their flight into Egypt. On the journey, Perry tries to find out whether these places were really visited by the Holy Family and compares between the conditions of the route then and now. The documentary explains how Egyptians live together in harmony despite differences in religion, culture and social class. It also highlights the most important tourist sites in Egypt, whether Pharaonic, Coptic or Islamic. NEHRA is a national association that includes a number of Egyptian businessmen who are keen on preserving Egyptian heritage. It has supervised the restoration of ancient sites as well as the third millennium celebration held on the banks of the Nile in Maadi.