Al-Ahram Weekly Online   2 - 8 March 2006
Issue No. 784
Travel
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Guidelines


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Airlines & airports

Emirates check-in online

EMIRATES, the Dubai- based international airline, has recently expanded its Internet check-in facility to Egypt, making the convenient facility available to customers in Cairo and Alexandria among the 55 cities served by the airline across Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Australia.

Passengers travelling from Cairo and Alexandria can now select and secure their preferred seats, and check in for their Emirates flight from the convenience of their homes, hotels or offices by logging on to www.emirates.com.

Available between 12 and two hours prior to flight departure, Emirates' Internet check-in service allows passengers to select their seat from those available at the time. Once the check-in process has been completed, passengers will be provided an online check-in receipt. They can then proceed to a dedicated Emirates counter at the airport to exchange the receipt for a boarding pass.

The online service also allows for passengers to check-in for groups of up to nine persons travelling together, as well as connecting flights on Emirates, further shortening waiting times.

"As we prepare to celebrate our 20th anniversary of operation in Egypt in April this year, Emirates is pleased to introduce our online check-in facility. We are confident our customers will welcome this new and convenient option to check in for their Emirates flights via the Internet," said Adil Al-Ghaith, Emirates' area manager for Egypt, adding that Emirates will be adding new facilities to its online check-in service in the near future.

This Internet check-in facility has proved popular with Emirates' customers since it was launched in October 2005. Initially introduced to travellers in four cities, the success of the service has prompted its rapid expansion across the airline's network. Emirates intends to eventually offer Internet check-in to all the cities it serves, whenever technologically possible.

New Etihad routes

ETIHAD Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, recently launched its inaugural flight to the Philippine capital Manila. It also announced that a new daily service between Abu Dhabi and Manchester will be launched by the end of this month.

The new destination of Manila follows Etihad Airways' ambitious plans to link Abu Dhabi to the world's most important commercial and cultural centres, and will provide a major service to the 200,000 Filipino nationals based in the UAE, as well as the thousands of other nationals in demand of air service to that market.

The Manila route, which will operate every Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, is just one of several new international destinations for the Abu Dhabi-based luxury carrier in 2006.

On the other hand, on 26 March 2006, Etihad Airways will launch its daily service between Abu Dhabi and Manchester. Manchester, the regional capital of the north-west of England and the UK's largest economic region outside London, will be Etihad Airways' third UK destination, in addition to its current services to London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

The new Etihad route will serve many of the 650,000 Britons who visit the UAE each year, in addition to the estimated 95,000 British citizens living in the UAE.

The new Manchester route will also provide UK-based businesses with greater opportunities for investment in the Middle East, especially in the property and construction sectors.

How to cure jet lag

BRITISH Airways has introduced a new service to help travellers combat jet lag. It is offered on www.ba.com, the airline's website that celebrated its 10th anniversary in December 2005.

This online service is available to all customers who want to avoid jet lag. By logging onto www.ba.com/jetlag, travellers can enter their details into a "calculator", which uses a simple formula that will tell them how to reduce the effects of jet lag.

The Jet Lag Advisor was developed by Chris Idzikowski, the airline's official Sleep Doctor. He explained that the body clock is affected by four main factors: light, sleep, exercise and food. By knowing when they should either expose themselves to light, or when it should be avoided, traveller can soon kiss flight-related insomnia goodnight!

One of British Airways' key aims remains to make travel easier for its customers by embracing the benefits of technology. Currently more than 1.5 million customers visit www.ba.com every week, and proof of the website's success was reaffirmed just recently. On one day in January www.ba.com received 22,162 bookings, smashing its previous record of 17,400, achieved in September 2005. That equates to an impressive average of more than one booking every four seconds.

British Airways' innovative programme that puts the customer in control kicked off in 1997, when the airline began selling tickets online. The airline operates 16 flights each week between Egypt and London -- daily flights from Cairo, three times a week from Sharm El-Sheikh, twice a week from Hurghada and four direct flights a week from Alexandria, enabling customers to make same day connections onto the airline's worldwide network, covering 157 destinations in 77 countries.

Hotels & resorts

Mums' day out

INSTEAD of celebrating Mother's Day with a greeting card or a present that she might not need, you can simply surprise her with a luxury stay at one of Cairo's five star resorts or with a fantastic lunch or dinner prepared specially for mums on 21 March.

On the day, Semiramis InterContinental in Cairo will offer mouth-watering menus at its exclusive Italian Pane Vino restaurant, Bird Cage and Lebanese Sabaya restaurant. For further information call +202 797 1818.

At the Ramses Hilton Hotel, grandmothers will receive a free meal when accompanied by their families at the Terrace Café Restaurant on 17 March, for the Friday Family Brunch, and on 21 March for the lunch or dinner buffet. For more information call +202 394 6902.

If you want even more fun for your mum you can consider the Four Season's Resort Sharm El-Sheikh weekend family package, which offers double rooms and family suites on a bed-and-breakfast basis, with breakfast served at the Arabesque restaurant. Also, the resort can help you plan your mum's surprise, by designing an exceptional Gift Certificate to make her experience an unforgettable one. For more information on reservations and rates, log on to www.fourseasons.com/sharmelsheikh.

Suite deals

STARWOOD Hotels, jointly with American Express, has launched a new promotion, offering guests a 50 per cent discount on suites when setting their bill with their American Express card. This offer is valid until the end of March in over 39 Starwood Hotels and Resorts in Africa and the Middle East.

The promotion offers excellent value for money for discerning travellers in some of the most splendid destinations in the region, including Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and many more. The special offer is available for single or double occupancy at participating Starwood Hotels and Resorts. For further information and reservations visit www.starwood.com/amexsuites.

Olympics champion at Abu Soma

WINDSURFING Olympic Greek champion Nicolas Kaklamanakis has chosen the InterContinental Abu Soma Resort in the Abu Soma area on the Red Sea for his training programme. He said the area is one of the best, calmest natural areas he has visited, where one enjoys safety, relaxation and comfort alike. All in all, he described the setting as perfect for his training.

He intends on participating in the World Windsurf Championship, which will be held in August-September 2006 in Italy. He has previously won the Olympics Gold medal in 1996, Silver in 2004 as well as the World Championship three times in 1996, 2000 and 2001.

Orient 1001 at Miramar

Sheraton Miramar Resort at El-Gouna, recently announced its popular Oriental outlet, the Orient 1001 restaurant underwent a renovation completed by the end of February 2006.

The Orient 1001 restaurant located on a separate island at the Sheraton Miramar Resort has completed a renovation by adding an extension to its terrace overlooking the hotel's islands and the Red Sea. Now guests can dine in open air under a breathtaking blanket of glowing sun or shining stars inspiring them with the true romance of the old years.

"The Orient 1001 had also revamped its lavish mouth- watering oriental menu to complement its new surroundings focussing on the finest Lebanese and Egyptian cuisine. The menu includes sets of oriental and authentic mezzah, charcoal grilled specialties, oriental desserts, Egyptian bread-baking oven and the delicious Fish Sayadeya. Guests shouldn't miss Miramar famous Seafood Tagen along with the 1001 legendary BBQ and its famous terrace corner where traditional tea and coffee are served. Sure guests will savour their meal while enjoying this authentic atmosphere and the real taste of the Orient," said the hotel executive chef Meurer Rainer.

"For the first time since its opening, Orient 1001 is now open for both lunch along with dinner to please all guests at any time," Rainer added.

Happy birthday

CAIRO Marriott's Japanese Restaurant Torii recently celebrated its first anniversary in style. Invitees included members of the diplomatic community, leading figures in the tourism industry, VIPs and exclusive clients of the hotel. They were treated to a selection of sushi, sashimi and tempura dishes prepared by sushi chef Marcelo Mahiany and his team. The party was also a golden chance to launch an all-you-can-eat sushi promotion. Guests of Torii will be able to eat as much sushi and sashimi as they like every Monday between 6pm and midnight for only LE120 plus service charge and taxes.

Chinese New Year at Spice

TO COMMEMORATE the start of the Chinese Year of the Dog, Spice Restaurant at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza prepared a programme marking the festivities from 27 to 30 January. Guests enjoyed and indulged in a mouth-watering eight- course menu of Cantonese specialties, including crystal dumplings with vegetables, shrimps in chili sauce and stir- fried chicken. The highlight of the celebrations was the special entertainment by the Chinese Angelettes, a group of Chinese children performing a New Years dance and music routines which added to the true spirit and atmosphere of the celebration.

Environment protection at the Hilton

ENVIRONMENTAL protection is one of the top priorities on the Hilton Hurghada Resort's agenda for 2006. Fifteen members of the resort's environment al committee and other team members of the resort, together with General Manager Soha El-Torgoman, organised a clean-up campaign of an area near the resort. It has been decided that during this year the resort's Environmental Committee will try hard to find ways to save water, energy and to reduce plastic packaging.

Rotarians in Conrad

CLUB Rotary Al-Tahrir hosted legendary international piano player Ramzi Yassa in an evening in Conrad Cairo Hotel to celebrate his career and talent, which have brought him to perform before passionate audiences worldwide. Yassa thrilled attendees as he played at the hotel's Atrium Lounge. Fantastic tunes excited an overwhelmed audience from among the hotel's guests and the Rotarians.

Winner of several international prizes, Egyptian Yassa has appeared on the world's most prestigious stages, including the Barbican, the Berliner Philharmonic, the Kennedy Centre, the Mann Auditorium, the Sala Verdi, the Musikverein, the Tivoli, the Palau and the Theatre des Champs Elysees.

Big job in the African Cup

STAFF and managers at the Sheraton Cairo Hotel played a key role in the African Cup of Nations, as caterers to the big event and as hosts to the BBC news team covering the event. The African Cup of Nations' organising committee chose Sheraton Cairo's team as the sole caterer for all receptions held for the event's VIP and press delegations. The hotel's catering team did a great job during the inaugural ceremony, when they had to cater for more than 4,000 VIPs. Meanwhile the BBC World News team chose the hotel to be the residence of its reporters in Cairo due to its unique location in the heart of Cairo and on the banks of the Nile. The channel's reporters expressed their great admiration of the hotel's high standard of professional services.

New GM for Hyatt Regency Taba Heights

HYATT International has announced the appointment of Mushaka Perera as the new general manager for Hyatt Regency Taba Heights. Perera occupied various management positions with rooms division in Grosvenor House Hotel and Lowndes Hotel in London. Prior to coming to Egypt, he was manager of the Galleria Residence's complex at Hyatt Regency Dubai.

Perera is a graduate of Schiller International University in Switzerland.

News

Spring packages

THOMAS Cook Travel Agency offers wonderful package deals for different resorts all over Egypt for those who want to enjoy spring in relaxing surroundings. All packages, unless otherwise stated, are valid until the end of April and are restricted to Egyptians and foreign residents.

Through Thomas Cook, you can book a three-night holiday at Holiday Inn Sharm El-Sheikh for LE600 per person in a double room on a half-board basis. For a cheaper option you can try Taba Radisson SAS, where a three night vacation will only cost LE450 per person on a half-board basis.

If you are a Red Sea lover, you can take the Hurghada Makadi Sol Y Mar Club option for LE720 per person in a double room for three nights on an all inclusive basis -- meaning that you can eat and drink all you like without paying any extras and without being restricted to mealtimes. The same deal is offered by the Hurghada Makadi Sol Y Mar Star & Spa. Both offers are valid until 19 April.

If you have a tight budget and still want to enjoy the Red Sea, you can try Sol Y Mar Paradise Resort in Safaga, south to Hurghada. The resort offers a three-night stay for LE390 per person in a double room on a half board basis. The offer is valid until 19 April.

This might be the most suitable time to travel to Upper Egypt, as the weather is warm and sunny. You can take a wonderful three-day holiday and stay at Aswan Elephantine Island for LE450 per person in a double room on a bed-and- breakfast basis. You can also try the charm of Luxor by staying for three nights in Luxor Sheraton Resort for LE420 per person in a double room on bed and breakfast basis.

For more information call Thomas Cook offices +202 696 5000/ 346 7187/ 417 3511.

The Italians are coming

A RECENT meeting between the Egyptian Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garanah and Italian Ambassador Antonio Badini focussed on the means to restore the Italian tourism movement to Egypt that witnessed a decline after the attacks on Sharm El-Sheikh in July 2005. The Italian ambassador proposed that Italian tourists should get acquainted with the new Egyptian tourist destinations such as the Northern Coast, Alamein and Sidi Abdel-Rahman. He stressed that Italian investors should also become informed of the possibility of investing capital in these destinations. He added that there should be more promotion of classical and cultural tourism sites, and suggested that Italians be urged to visit the Italian cemetery in Alamein.

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