Airlines & airports
E-ticketing on Alex-London route
FOLLOWING the past year's success with electronic tickets on the Cairo-London route, British Airways has introduced e-tickets on the Alexandria-London route operated by its franchise partner BMED.
"E-tickets are secure, hassle-free and offer a host of advantages," Tamer El-Kalioubi, BMED's airport manager in Alexandria, said. "Instead of customers receiving a paper ticket, their details are stored on our computer systems and can be accessed by staff whenever they are needed. As all the information is stored electronically, customers no longer need to worry about misplacing tickets or having them stolen because they can go into their booking on-line and print as many booking receipts as they want."
Worldwide, the e-ticketing system is transforming the way people travel. Currently 76 per cent of all journeys on British Airways are by customers using e-tickets. E-tickets can now be used on around 150 routes -- 70 per cent of the network -- with more routes being added every month.
British Airways operates 16 flights per week between Egypt and London. There are daily flights from Cairo, three times a week from Sharm El-Sheikh, twice a week from Hurghada and four direct flights a week between Alexandria and London, enabling customers to make same-day connections onto the airline's worldwide network, covering 157 destinations in 77 countries.
LUFTHANSA has won another top award for leadership development. The company was honoured in Orlando, Florida for its innovative collaboration with external learning partners. The US market research and consulting firm Corporate University Xchange described Lufthansa's strategic partnership with universities and business schools as "outstanding". More than 200 companies, most of them globally active, had submitted entries for one of the prestigious prizes conferred by Corporate University Xchange. The Lufthansa School of Business received the "International Best Practice" award.
The annual Corporate University Xchange Awards salute companies that set global standards in corporate learning and executive development. The best and most innovative practices are recognised in eight categories: alignment, learning alliances, e- learning, marketing, measurement, higher education, launching a new corporate university and leadership development.
New Emirates office
EMIRATES Airlines recently opened its new sales office at Cairo International Airport.
Located at Departure Hall in Terminal 2, the plush-looking, brand new office was inaugurated by Gamal Fathi, deputy operation manager of Cairo Airport and Adil Al-Ghaith, Emirates' area manager in Egypt.
The new sales office will provide Egyptian travellers with one more access point to handle their ticketing, reservations, bookings and inquiry requirements. The office will also cater to the needs of Emirates' transit passengers seeking information on their connecting flights.
The winner of more than 280 major international awards, Emirates enjoys a reputation for superior customer service both in the air and on the ground.
"Emirates is gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary in the Egyptian market this year. We launched services to Egypt within one year of the start of our global operations. Over the years, the airline's operations in the country have progressively increased rendering Egypt a key market for the airline," said Al-Ghaith.
In May 2005, the airline launched direct flights to its second gateway in the country, Alexandria. More recently, the Dubai- based international airline launched its innovative Internet check- in facility resulting in saving time and in convenience for the Egyptian traveller.
INTERCONTINENTAL Abu Soma Resort on the Red Sea offers a lucrative package for those who want to spend the Easter vacation in style. For LE375 per person in a deluxe double room, you and your children will spend a wonderful vacation amongst beautifully landscaped gardens, a 5,000m pool with waterfalls in addition to one km of sandy beach. The offer is on a half board basis (breakfast and dinner buffet) including airport pick-up.
Children will have an unforgettable experience in Maria Kids Club where they will be entertained with a variety of exciting and educational activities. It includes shaded private pools, a clubhouse and a number of games.
For more information call +202 644 632.
JW Marriott new chefs
LEBANESE chef Abdo and Italian chef Giovanni are two newly appointed chefs in JW Marriott Hotel. Abdo is responsible of the Lebanese restaurant Ahlien that provides the best Lebanese specialties in town.
You can start with his appetiser signature dish, fillet seabass, covered with tehina sauce and garlic, then indulge in mouth- watering lamb stuffed with rice. And don't forget to ask for the most delicious dessert Layali Lebnan (Lebanese nights) that you won't taste elsewhere.
Chef Giovanni, who arrived in Cairo with the best Italian ingredients in town, invites you to dine in the Cucina restaurant, and to experience a nine-course authentic Italian dinner featuring three delicious starters, five main courses and a delicious dessert. To add to the fun, Edwardo, the famous guitarist will also entertain you with his big collection of Italian songs.
For more information contact +202 412 5041.
New resort in Taba
M…VENPICK Hotels & Resorts recently opened a new luxury resort in Taba, on the Red Sea coast in Egypt. The comfortable, family-friendly holiday oasis has 434 rooms and provides the ideal setting for a relaxing holiday, whatever the time of year. Only 30km from Taba International Airport, the new holiday complex is situated directly on Taba Bay, which is currently making a name for itself as the new paradise along the Egyptian Riviera.
Located in north-eastern Egypt, Taba boasts spectacular views of the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, blending with the unique backdrop of the Sinai with its barren mountains and impressive desert scenery.
The hotel has its own 400m private beach, two outdoor pools and a heated indoor pool as well as three shallow-water pools. Other amenities to be available to guests by the end of 2006 include a casino, a spa and leisure area, a modern fitness centre, a water sports and diving centre under professional management, three tennis courts, a volleyball court and a children's club. An 18- hole golf course is also due to open soon some 20km from the resort. Two conference rooms with seating for up to 200 participants are complemented by a business centre, ideal for banquets and business meetings.
The Mövenpick Resort Taba is the 13th hotel belonging to Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in Egypt (including the three Nile cruise ships), at seven destinations.
Stay connected at Four Seasons
IN ADDITION to property's business amenities, Four Seasons Sharm El-Sheikh recently introduced a high-speed Internet access facility. The new service offers guests the opportunity to log on at the click of a button in strategic places throughout the resort.
Four Seasons guests travelling with their own PC can access the Internet at up to 20 times the standard modern access speed. Besides sending and receiving e- mails at high speed, they will enjoy accelerated data transfer, access their company's Intranet or Extranet, and access the World Wide Web at the same high speed on the Internet.
The wireless service will be available through the resort's Internet broadband access in the lobby, business centre, ballroom, restaurants and beach with wired service available in guest rooms. For a nominal fee, guests can use wired or wireless connection at T1 speed throughout the property.
ITALIAN food lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy the most mouth-watering Italian delicacies during the extravagant Italian week promotion at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence starting 7 April. The hotel is hosting Italian Chef Giovanni Speciale to lead the promotional week.
Born and raised in south Italy, in the Apulia region in Martina Franca, surrounded by the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas, Giovanni's style of cooking is based on sea food, fresh herbs and olive oil, the prime ingredients from both sea and land. He cooks traditional and non-traditional recipes and presents them with modern techniques yet authentic flavours. "The menu I am presenting at the promotion week will be very balanced to accommodate all guest preferences including meat lovers. My dishes will include traditional pasta made by durum wheat traditionally from the south of Italy and the Sardinian fregula," Giovanni said.
Giovanni will be giving a class in Italian cuisine on 10 April at 11am followed by a lunch at Seasons restaurant overlooking the Nile.
For more information call +202 567 2022.
...and cooking at Nile Plaza
ITALIAN chef Angleo Zantedeschi of Four Seasons at Nile Plaza gave 20 society ladies a Cook & Learn class where he presented three favourite Italian dishes: ravioli pasta with saffron sauce, seafood risotto and tiramisu.
Zantedeschi gave away the secrets of how to make home-made pasta and to create special colour variations such as beetroot tagliolini spinach ravioli, squid ink tagliatelle and chocolate spaghetti.
IN AN ATTEMPT to attract large numbers of Spanish tourists to Egypt, Conrad Cairo Hotel recently hosted a press trip of various Spanish entertainment and tourist magazines. Among the group was the Spanish actress Marta Calvo who stayed at the presidential suite overlooking the Nile and which is lavishly decorated with authentic Pharaonic souvenirs.
The delegation was welcomed by the marketing communications and public relations team of the hotel. They all got together for an elegant cocktail reception and were escorted on a tour of the hotel.
IF YOU are a fan of Thai food, Le Meridien Heliopolis Cairo offers a new Thai experience in Rachawadee restaurant offering authentic traditional Thai cuisine carefully prepared by Thai chefs. You can have a sumptuous lunch or dinner where you will enjoy special Thai herbs and spices and above all, warm hospitality.
For more information call +202 290 5055.
Black and white
INSTEAD of the traditional breakfast buffet, Cairo Marriott Hotel food and beverage team implemented a new black and white concept where a kitchen team presents small portions of food on black and white chinaware and then replenishes it on a regular basis. Moreover, many new dishes like cheese and turkey ham toasties, couscous with steamed vegetables and a selection of cheeses with home-made chutneys were added to the menu. Signature items include sun bread which Egypt has baked for over 7,000 years and derives its name from the fact that it is literally left in the sun to rise. Other items including preserves from France and beef bacon from the United States especially imported.
As a result of this unique menu and proficiency of Marriott staff, guests have collectively rated their overall breakfast experience at the Cairo Marriott Hotel as the best in any Marriott or Renaissance Hotel outside of the US.
For more information contact +202 739 4646.
W Hotel in Dubai Festival City
THE WORLD'S fastest growing luxury hotel brand, W Hotels Worldwide, is to operate a 350-room luxury hotel at Dubai Festival City. The "city-within-a-city" being built on the banks of Dubai Creek. The W Dubai Festival City will be the brand's first Middle East property.
W Dubai Festival City, which is scheduled to open in 2008, will be in the heart of Dubai Festival City's 245,000 square metres "Marsa Al-Khor" (Harbour of the Creek) development and will be the contemporary waterfront community's hospitality centrepiece.
The W brand, which is operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, broke through the clutter of conformity in the upscale hotel arena in 1998 when it became the first hotel brand with the personality of an independent hotel and the first class service and unique amenities found in leading luxury hotels. There are now 20 W hotels in the most vibrant cities around the world, from Montreal, Canada to Seoul, Korea.
"The commitment of W Hotels is another major coup for us and again gives our Creekside development first-mover hospitality advantage," said Omar Al-Futtaim, CEO of Dubai Festival City. "We are continually trying to raise expectations and this partnership is not only another first for the Middle East, but an indication of our dedication to this promise."
W Dubai Festival City will be designed by world renowned, award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel. It will be surrounded by a waterfront quay, a central park, exclusive waterfront homes, state-of-the-art offices and an array of chic cafes, clubs and restaurants.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has entered into a management agreement for the W Dubai Festival City with the Al-Futtaim Group, the project's developer and one of the Middle East's largest and most respected private sector conglomerates.
"The W Dubai Festival City will offer custom-designed accommodation in the heart of the emirate's downtown area and close to a major convention centre, fabulous shopping facilities, dining and nightlife," said Roeland Vos, president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Europe, Middle East & Africa.
The W Dubai Festival City's 350 rooms and luxury suites, multiple signature restaurants and a bliss spa will be linked to other Dubai Festival City elements, including the Festival Marina, a Mediterranean-style yacht hub with marine activities and a unique urban retail resort, Festival Centre, which seamlessly blends retail, entertainment and hospitality into one complete family experience.
Hilton Award day
FOR THE THIRD year in row, the 17 hotels and resorts of Hilton Egypt held their annual Travel Award Ceremony during which Hilton Egypt honoured several travel agencies in recognition of their special efforts and consistent support during 2005.
The event was held at the Nile Hilton Rotisserie Belvedere and was attended by Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garanah, a large number of travel agencies and Hilton Egypt management team. Awards were given to Travco and Gezirah Travel.
Wipe a tear, put a smile
ABOUT 400 families and 150 orphans were the target of a big charity campaign launched by Sheraton Montazah Hotel and Lions Club East in collaboration with Resala Charity Association. The two- day campaign included distribution of free medicine, clothes, blankets, food and children's toys. The campaign, under the slogan "Together we wipe a tear, together we put a smile" involved leading schools, textile factories, pharma companies, hospitals and food stores and dozens of volunteers who helped in the sorting, packaging and distribution process.
Fustat crafts festival
MINISTER of Tourism Zoheir Garanah recently opened a festival of crafts and arts of the Mediterranean basin, held in cooperation with UNESCO, in Fustat in old Cairo. "This area is a clear example of the spirit of brotherhood and peace that existed in Egypt hundreds of years ago as it includes the oldest religious establishments in the world including the mosque of Amr Ibn Al-Aas and a number of historic churches," Garanah said in his address. He added that since its establishment, Fustat was known as a centre for craftsmanship, especially pottery. "Until the end of the 20th century there were hundreds of pottery workers working under tough conditions and thus the ministry, in cooperation with Cairo Governorate, started work five years ago on improving conditions in the area. Thus all areas surrounding the ancient sites were restored and upgraded especially the Fustat market which was chosen to become a centre for collecting the most refined Egyptian crafts," Garanah said.
UNESCO representative Gerard De Puymege said that attention should be paid to these crafts because they are considered a communication channel between different cultures and civilisations. He also stressed the importance of preserving these crafts and training a new generation to work in the field.
Holy Family route
HEAD of the Egyptian Tourism Federation Ahmed El-Nahhas recently asked Egyptian tourist bodies to prepare a comprehensive plan that would invest in the sites and cities which the Holy Family settled in or passed through during their four-year flight to Egypt.
El-Nahhas said cooperation of the government, represented in the ministries of tourism, investment, transportation and housing, with the tourist private sector was of prime importance. "They should prepare these sites with the necessary infrastructure such as roads, hotels, restaurants and tourist shops and provide appropriate means of transportation to these sites. This would promote the international movement of religious tourism through an extremely important and unique tourist product that hasn't received the appropriate attention yet as far as promotion and marketing are concerned," El-Nahhas said.
He said more governmental incentives, facilities and exemptions were needed to attract investments to more than 25 sites where the Holy Family settled in or passed by. "Booklets prepared by the Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourist Authority and which were published in over five languages are not enough to make this product a reality. There are many things that these sites lack. For example, there is not a single hotel that can receive tourists at these sites, and there aren't any toilets or cafeterias to serve people," El-Nahhas said.
El-Nahhas said the Egyptian Tourism Federation was ready to cooperate with the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourist Development Authority to prepare all economic and developmental studies to launch the route of the Holy Family as a not so traditional tourist product and to encourage the private sector to invest in the route starting from Farama in Al-Arish in North Sinai to Deir Al-Muharraq in Assiut in Upper Egypt.