Airlines & airports
From Russia to Aswan
HEAD of the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) Ahmed El-Khadem has announced that the Ministry of Tourism has decided to support a charter incentive programme starting from May between Russia and Egyptian tourist destinations like Aswan, especially after the increasing demand witnessed by Russian tourists to Egyptian historical destinations in Upper Egypt, particularly Nile cruises. The announcement was made during El-Khadem's participation in the Moscow International Travel Fair from 21 to 24 March.
Russia constitutes to be an essential part of the volume of the tourist movement coming to Egypt. The number of Russian tourists to Egypt in 2006 was estimated at 998,000 tourists, an increase of 28 per cent over the same period last year. This makes Russians the second largest number of tourists visiting Egypt.
New baggage policy
BRITISH Airways recently announced a new baggage policy and a revision of its charging policy to come into effect in September 2007. For customers who check in no more than one item of luggage, there is no change in rates. Customers to the US, the Caribbean, Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil will be able to check in two pieces of luggage free of charge. The free 23kg allowance for economy class customers to other destinations will be limited to a single item of luggage.
For customers who wish to exceed their allowances, charges vary according to weight, route and class of travel. There are three simple rates for bags additional to the free allowance: £30 per extra bag on domestic flights, £60 per extra bag on European flights and £120 per extra bag on long haul flights. Customers will get a 30 per cent discount on these rates if they pre-pay online.
LUFTHANSA offers from 1 April until 30 June 2007 extra 5,000 award miles for Business Class and 2,500 award miles for Economy Class travel on top of your regular miles.
Just register at www.miles-and-more.com/bigmiles and fly on Lufthansa selected flights from Cairo or Alexandria to Frankfurt and vice versa and enjoy your extra miles.
Furthermore, if you book online or issue an etix¨ , you will get 250 extra award miles per flight.
For more information contact Miles & More Helpdesk at 7398466.
Hotels & resorts
Charity gala dinner
FOUR Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza hosted Cairo's gala dinner held for the benefit of the Centre for the Patronage of Mentally Challenged Girls in Ein Al-Seera, Old Cairo, with the assistance and support of the Peace & Plenty Kheir Wa Baraka organisation.
In April 2006, Four Seasons Nile Plaza undertook the humanitarian task of taking charge of the orphanage. Since then, the hotel staff has been committed to donating time and labour for the orphanage's improvement. To date it has rebuilt the kitchen area and is in the process of improving the grounds.
This will be followed by the rebuilding of its sanitation facilities. The hotel has also collected donations from its staff by means of payroll deductions, with each employee donating what he or she can afford.
Since Four Seasons Nile Plaza owns a large collection of contemporary Egyptian art, the artists involved in the collection have each agreed to donate a couple of pieces of their art for sale on the night of the event. The funds from the art sale will be donated to the orphanage. In addition, Lebanese singer Assy Al-Helani performed at the event.
The event was attended by guest of honour Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni, British Ambassador to Egypt Sir Derek Plumbly and other prominent figures and leading businessmen.
"We are very happy to be involved in such a worthwhile project. It means we can help and make an impact on those who are less fortunate than us," Four Seasons General Manager Olivier Masson said. "The success of the gala dinner will allow us to improve and impact the lives of these orphaned girls. Four Seasons Nile Plaza is committed to raising funds for the orphanage on a long-term basis, as for us it is a life-time project."
Brunch for all
INTERCONTINENTAL City Stars Hotel recently launched its weekend brunch for all family members. The brunch takes place on Fridays and Saturdays at Al-Bustan restaurant which is anchored by an open kitchen with views of the pool and the health club from every table. The brunch is prepared by Chef Ahmed Shaaban and presented in the style of open-air markets in Italy, France and Spain to display the variety and choices offered.
Between sets, you can cruise the stations for freshly- prepared Lebanese salads, sushi, Asian stations, meat and chicken BBQ skewers, cheeses from the Riviera and mouth- watering desserts with a display of cakes, pastries, ice creams and chocolates.
As the special kids buffet includes traditional chicken nuggets, hot dogs, pizza, marshmallows and mini desserts, it will surely keep the little ones preoccupied while adults savour their own delightful cuisine.
OHD signs on the dotted line
ORASCOM Hotels & Development (OHD) signed two noteworthy hotel management deals on 18 February in Oman, thus taking another major step towards its target of 10,000 guest rooms by 2010.
In the first deal related to Oman, Samih Sawiris, chairman of OHD, and Sheikh Nasser Al-Nowais, chairman of Rotana Hotels, Suites and Resorts, signed an agreement under which Rotana will manage the five-star hotel at OHD's major project in Salalah. This is the second OHD hotel to be managed by Rotana, the first of which is at The Cove in Ras Al-Khaimah in the UAE. The new 350-room property in Salalah includes three specialty restaurants, a spa, and other leisure and sporting options.
In the second agreement between Sawiris and Henry Giscard d'Estaing, chairman of Club Med, Club Med is to manage a new hotel at the company's second project in Egypt in Taba Heights, Sinai. The new hotel will have 394 guestrooms, including 60 family suites and a private beach, and will provide free resort-wide transportation, an 18-hole championship golf course and international marina.
OHD has an active pipeline of ambitious projects in Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Mauritius, Morocco, and Switzerland. As the largest single hotel owner in Egypt, OHD also has management agreements with leading international hoteliers including Hyatt, Intercontinental, Mövenpick, Marriott, and Sheraton. The new agreements with Rotana and Club Med add to this prestigious list of partners in the hospitality industry.
Top travel partners awarded
HILTON and Conrad Hotels & Resorts in Egypt recently held their fourth Travel Award Ceremony at the Conrad Cairo to award top travel partners for 2006 for their support of the Hilton chain and the tourism industry in Egypt.
The ceremony was attended by leaders in the tourism industry including Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garana. Simon Hasdell, vice president of operations for Hilton Hotels Egypt, Jordan & Lebanon, and Azza Serry, regional director of business development, presented the awards.
"I would like to thank the Hilton management team for their prominent contribution in promoting tourism to Egypt," Garana said, addressing attendees. "Tourism is one of the key pillars of Egypt's domestic economy. Recently, it became clear that this sector plays a key role in improving the living standards of individuals and society as a whole by promising endless job opportunities."
Awards were given to the travel agencies that have made significant contributions to the growth of Hilton & Conrad Hotels and Resorts, including El-Jazeera Travel, Travel Ways, Galaxia Tours, Tarot Garana, Abercrombie & Kent, Emeco, and Travco.
MAGDI Naguib, the general manager of the JW Marriott Hotel Cairo, has received the global Leadership Excellence 2006 Award in a celebration held recently in San Francisco in the US.
The prestigious award recognises the general managers who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in 2006. The honorees are known to be role models of courageous leadership, professional expertise, innovation and high achievement. They have also made extraordinary contributions to the business and have influenced decisions that protect and enhance Marriott's corporate culture.
WITHIN its continued efforts to serve the community, Sheraton Montazah Hotel in Alexandria hosted a charity marathon for homeless children. The marathon started from the hotel to Qaitbey Fort and included more than 250 participants from Rotary and Roteract clubs, Egyptian and foreign firms and consulates in Alexandria. It was organised by Rotary Cosmopolitan for their homeless children project that aims to rehabilitate 30 children and educate them, in collaboration with Don Bosco School.
Rotana culinary book
ROTANA Hotels recently announced the publishing of the Rotana Hotels Culinary Book, Volume One, at Al-Murooj Rotana Hotel & Suites.
The book is an amalgam of stunning images of food and décor, showcasing the company's international signature restaurants, including Rodeo Grill, Finz, Come Prima, Latino House, Min Zaman, Teatro and Silk Road. "Good food, though a key ingredient, is only part of the recipe," said Selim El-Zyr, president & CEO of Rotana Hotels. "Atmosphere, décor, service and imagination are just as important. Together they combine to create something unique, something truly memorable."
The book features between two to three recipes from each restaurant which are simple and easy enough to try out at home. It also has descriptive editorial for each restaurant.
"I believe the quality and diversity of our restaurants is a major part of our recipe for success and this is why we came up with the idea of a culinary book," El-Zyr added. "With its publishing we have added another ingredient to the Rotana dining experience."
Rotana Hotels Culinary Book is available in the lobby of every Rotana property throughout the Middle East.
Kaza agreement with TGI Friday's
KAZA Royal Club, the leading private VIP hotel and restaurant loyalty membership card in Egypt, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) recently signed an exclusive agreement with TGI Friday's restaurant and its parent company Americana. The deal marks the first time Americana uses a loyalty card programme as part of its marketing activities.
Under the pilot programme which continues up until the end of May 2007, the 8,000 members of the private Kaza Royal Loyalty Club, the largest private corporate loyalty programme in Egypt, will receive a special 30 per cent discount on food and beverage in the new branch of TGI Friday's in Mohandessin.
"Kaza Royal Club members represent an important market segment of frequent diners that TGI Friday's attracts on a regular basis," said Mohamed Amin, regional director of operations for TGI Friday's. "We are proud to utilise the global experience of Kaza Club's parent company, TVB Group, to offer value-added services to our premium clientele," Amin added.
Kaza Royal Club members already generate hundreds of thousands of restaurant covers per month for major restaurant groups La Caseta, Abu Shakra, Fuddruckers, Peking and other exclusive independent five-star restaurants throughout Egypt's major cities and resorts.
Mövenpick parts with Jolie Ville
JOLIE Ville Hotels Management Co and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts have decided not to extend the marketing and technical operational assistance agreement due to expire at the end of 2007. As of 1 January 2008 the Jolie Ville hotels in Sharm El-Sheikh and Luxor will therefore no longer be part of the Swiss hotel group's portfolio.
Because of the rapid growth of the international hotel chain, the board of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts decided to enter only into management contracts and no longer into technical or franchised agreements. The decision was reached to protect branding initiatives and to guarantee that the renowned values and quality standards of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts Swiss remain high.
"Egypt has always been an extremely attractive market for Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts," said Josef Kufer, senior vice president of Africa Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. "Indeed, we have just signed management agreements for new deluxe cruisers on the Nile and Lake Nasser, underscoring our strategic commitment to Egypt in the future and our intention to expand further in this market."
Four Seasons Alexandria appointment
STEPHAN Killinger has been appointed general manager of the soon-to- open Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria. The fourth Four Seasons property in Egypt and the ninth in the Middle East, Four Seasons Alexandria will offer guests Mediterranean views from the 118-room property, a private beach and marina and several dining options.
Killinger has travelled extensively in his career and, having held senior management positions with leading hotels in Seoul, Sydney, Nassau and Makati in the Philippines, he joined Four Seasons in 2000 where he assisted with the opening of Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence, the first Four Seasons property to open in the Middle East.
"I'm looking forward to settling my family here in Alexandria and to the challenges that opening a new hotel as general manager will bring," Killinger said. "Alexandria has much to offer tourists and businessmen alike and is the ideal location to bring up my family."
Arab road shows
IN AN ATTEMPT to attract Arab travellers, especially during the summer season, the Ministry of Tourism together with the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) are organising a number of road shows to Arab countries from April to June. The road shows include a number of top tourist officials, travel agents, businessmen and journalists. They are to discuss the hurdles that might be hindering tourism between the countries.
The road shows will target Libya, Oman, Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia, Morocco and Kuwait. The first entourage, led by Amr El-Ezabi, assistant to the minister of tourism, headed to Libya where a number of meetings and press conferences were held to help support intra-regional relations between the two countries and to get Libyan tourists acquainted with Egypt and the facilities it provides Libyan and other Arab travellers.
"The ETA aims at promoting the Arab tourist movement to Egypt through these road shows," Ahmed El-Khadem, head of the ETA, said. "The Arab tourist movement is very significant to Egypt since Egypt received more than 1.9 million Arab tourists during 2006, about 20 per cent of the total movement to Egypt. Arabs also spent about 22.2 million tourist nights in 2006, roughly 25 per cent of the total tourist nights."
El-Khadem added that this year and for the first time a road show will travel to Oman following an increasing demand from that market. "The road shows are one of the important marketing tools in the Arab region especially with the absence of Egyptian tourist offices in these countries."