Al-Ahram Weekly Online   7 - 13 September 2006
Issue No. 811
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Airlines & airports

New appointments in Emirates

EMIRATES Airlines has announced the appointment of its new airport services manager at Alexandria's Borg Al-Arab Airport (HBE).

Sami Al-Janahi took over the portfolio this month and will oversee the Emirates' ground handling activities at Borg Al-Arab Airport.

Emirates Airport Services include key operating departments like check-in and boarding; First and Business Class lounges; special services for assisting disabled passengers and unaccompanied minors; baggage services; and customer relations. Adil Al-Ghaith Emirates' area manager for Egypt, said that airport services play a crucial role in the overall customer experience. Most passengers begin their travel experience with Emirates at the airport when they check-in, their first point of contact with the airline's staff. "Under Sami's guidance, Emirates will continue to fulfil its commitment to its passengers -- excellence in the air and on the ground," Al-Ghaith said.

"In today's times of increasing air travel, delivering a high- quality service, while at the same time ensuring back operations run smoothly, is a big challenge. All activities, from check-in to baggage handling, aircraft cleaning, loading and catering, require full-proof checks. More importantly, one has to constantly innovate and keep abreast of customer expectations. It is an exciting yet challenging portfolio, and I look forward to it."

Emirates' operations in Egypt date back almost two decades. Alexandria is the airline's second destination in Egypt after Cairo.

Lufthansa profits

GERMAN Airlines Lufthansa recently unveiled its profits for the first six months of 2006. In the first six months of 2006, the Lufthansa Group generated revenues totalling 9.6 billion euros, a year-on-year increase of 14.2 per cent. Like all other figures, the revenue total is only partly comparable with the first half in the previous year owing to the first-time consolidation of the Eurowings group. However, higher passenger numbers and rising yields also increased traffic revenues returned by the Group's airlines by 13.9 per cent to 7.4 billion euros.

Operating expenses rose by 12.5 per cent to 9.9 billion euros but the increase remained below the growth in revenues. Aside from the expanded group of consolidated companies, the increase was largely attributable to the high oil price. In the first six months of the year, the group's airlines spent 1.6 billion euros on fuel. That was 516 million euros or 46.5 per cent more than at the halfway stage the previous year.

Lufthansa posted a first-half operating profit of 297 million euros, an increase of 44 million euros on the year-earlier level. An improvement of 100 million euros in the financial result lifted the group's net profit to 85 million euros. The financial result reflects a good result from subsidiaries: SWISS made a positive contribution to group profits. Thomas Cook AG improved its year-on-year results. The Group broke even on its first-half net result in 2005.

The group's capital expenditure in the first six months totalled 876 million euros, of which 267 million euros was invested in aircraft. Operating cash flow totalled 697 million euros. Net indebtedness totalled 101 million euros on 30 June 2006.

Hotels & resorts

New appointments at Hyatt

GORDON Campbell has been appointed regional director, Egypt and general manager of Grand Hyatt Cairo. Campbell, a graduate of the Westminster Hotel School in London, consolidated his studies with assignments in rooms management in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. Campbell comes to Egypt with 25 years experience in the hotel industry, including over 15 years with Hyatt International and in 1990 as resident manager of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and general manager in both Birmingham and Istanbul. Since April 2001, he assumed his most recent position as general manager at Hyatt Regency Dubai.

Life savers at Conrad

CONRAD'S training department recently organised an extensive lifeguard certification workshop for the recreation team provided by Human Development and Quality Management (HUMAQ).

The 12-day programme was aimed at enabling the health club team to acquire the skills required for water rescue, first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation and for being responsible for the safety of the hotel's guests while using the swimming pool.

Lebanese minister in Cairo Sheraton

THE LEBANESE Embassy held a dinner at Cairo Sheraton's La Mamma Restaurant for Fawzi Seloukh, the Lebanese minister of foreign affairs and his delegation, during his visit to Egypt to attend the Arab League foreign ministers conference to discuss the situation in Lebanon.

La Mamma Restaurant was chosen due to its location overlooking the Nile and its delicious variety of pastas, pizzas and other famous Italian dishes.

Madinat Makadi new restaurants

MADINAT Makadi in Hurghada recently launched two new restaurants: El-Bambouty, an open air Oriental sea food restaurant and Amaya Indian.

El-Bambouty, overlooking the Makadi Marine Beach, has a relaxed atmosphere where you can choose your own fresh seafood and request how you want it cooked. The food arrives straight from the fire absolutely bursting with flavour.

In Amaya, Indian food fans can enjoy old favourites like papadoms, garlic naan and pickled onions in the most peaceful and exotic atmosphere.

Top employees in Switzerland

TWENTY-four employees from various Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in the Middle East and Africa were elected employees of the year 2005 and were rewarded a trip to Switzerland from 9 to 13 July this year.

The trip included famed Swiss sightseeing tours in Lusanne and Zurich in addition to the famous Titles Mountain, where the staff enjoyed skiing.

Employees also enjoyed their accommodation at the Mövenpick Regensdorf Zurich in Switzerland.

Travel Writers meeting

SEMIRAMIS InterContinental recently hosted a meeting of Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garrana with members of the Egyptian Travel Writers Association at the Babylon meeting room. Members of the association discussed with the minister the latest tourism developments in Egypt and any problems in the field. Garrana was welcomed by Michel Tourniaire, area director of operations and general manager of the hotel.

Culinary delights at Nile Plaza

FRENCH CHEF Christophe Gillino was recently appointed executive chef at Four Seasons at Nile Plaza. Gillino will oversee a vast operation, which includes eight dining options, banqueting, in-room dining and outside catering services.

"Gillino brings to the hotel extensive knowledge, not only of fine French cuisine gleaned from working in Michelin star restaurants throughout France and Monte Carlo, but also expertise in other international cuisine which have included senior positions in one of Marrakech's leading hotels and, most recently, as executive chef at Reid's Palace Hotel in Madeira," said Olivier Masson, general manager of the hotel.

Gillino, from Aix en Provence in southern France, is happy with the new move and said that he has been fortunate to work in several countries and famous culinary regions, along the way, discovering new ingredients and inspirational ways of using them. "My move to Cairo will offer new experiences to stimulate my creativity even further and I am excited at the prospect," he said.

Peace culture for children

SHERATON Montazah Hotel at Alexandria together with the Creative Child Association have organised a workshop to enhance concepts of peace and tolerance amongst children.

The workshop was attended by 100 children from Alexandria schools where they expressed their views about peace and discussed how the world will look like after 50 years if peace prevails.

Winners at the Hurghada run

AS PART of its belief in the value of the environment, El-Gouna participated in the international celebration of this year's World Environment Day (WED).

Egypt participated in the WED through activities in Cairo, Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh. El-Gouna took first, second and third place in the Hurghada Run held to support WED.

"World Environment Day is an opportunity for each one of us to look back at the previous year in order to consider the activities we undertook and how it contributed to our environment," said Sherif Abdel-Aziz, El-Gouna marketing manager, adding that it might appear to some people that it is expensive to preserve the environment. "But it should be clear to everyone that it is possible to achieve development while preserving the environment," Abdel-Aziz said. "This can actually contribute positively to furthering the development process, given that we learn how to create harmony and integration between human activities and the resources of the environment."


Hotels and resorts in Focus

FOCUS is a new directory for hotels and resorts in Egypt that depends on pictures. Pictures, according to compilers of the directory, are always engraved in the mind and are remembered more than written words. This constitutes the main concept of the Focus directory.

Emad Zaki, managing director of Focus, says there is no other directory in Egypt that reviews all hotels and tourist resorts of various categories with such photography and which provides full up-to-date information.

"There was a dire need for a directory that shows by pictures how a hotel looks like and reviews its services and entertainment facilities. This is what differentiates Focus from other directories," Zaki said.

"The needs of each hotel guest are different from. A businessman would look for deluxe hotels equipped with special conference facilities such as computers, Internet and faxes whereas families always look for hotels with vast green areas and special places for their kids with reasonable prices. Young people, on the other hand, will look for sports facilities and night spots. Focus, for that reason, has created special signs to be put next to the name of each hotel so that guests can plan for their trip without fear of unwelcome surprises. This way readers could, through Focus, select the suitable hotel according to the information provided in the directory," Zaki said.

Focus provides hotel contact numbers, reservation facilities, accessibility as well as its number of stars.

Late is great

HAVEN'T booked your summer vacation yet? Don't worry, you still have time and bargains. Thomas Cook offers you three nights in Sharm El-Sheikh Holiday Inn per person in a double room for LE675 on half board basis.

If you're looking for a cheaper rate, you might consider Sharm El-Sheikh Creative Grand which offers double rooms for LE480 per person on bed and breakfast basis. Both offers are valid until mid-September.

For more information call +202 696 5000.

Shopping festival

EGYPT'S ninth Shopping and Tourism Festival, from 20 July to 20 August, attracted 1,700 exhibitors as well as tens of thousands of visitors. Hisham Zazo'a, the festival spokesman, said the festival provided 15,000 job opportunities in 15 governorates participating in the event. Moreover, more than 250,000 visitors made use of the discounts provided especially in the coastal cities that teemed with holiday-makers.

Most of the visitors were attracted to gold, handicraft and wooden products that Egypt is famous for.

Targeting a million tourists

IN HIS MEETING with representatives of Moody economic association, Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garrana announced plans to develop the tourist industry by increasing the number of incoming tourists to one million annually as well as increasing hotel rooms to 15,000 rooms annually, stressing that this would provide 200,000 new job opportunities a year.

Representatives of Moody Association visited Egypt to get acquainted with the economic developments in the country including the tourist sector.

An Arab boom

JULY witnessed an Arab tourist boom as the tourist movement from the Gulf market increased markedly. The movement from Kuwait increased by 17.5 per cent, from Qatar by 19.9 per cent, the United Arab Emirates by 22.6 and from Bahrain by 14.7 per cent.

The movement from Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan and Yemen also increased whereas it decreased from Saudi Arabia by eight per cent (although tourist nights increased by 6.2 per cent) and from Palestine because of the closing of the Rafah border.

Arab travellers increased by 10.8 per cent from January to July 2006 and tourist nights also increased by 10.2 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Opera House on the map

AN AGREEMENT between the head of the Opera House Abdel-Moneim Kamel and Amr Sidki, deputy head of the Egyptian Travel Agents Association, was reached putting the Opera House on the tourist map.

According to the agreement, tourist groups which are brought by the travel agents can be invited to attend the cultural activities presented by the Opera House during 2007.

Desert museum

AN LE5 MILLION desert museum will be built in Dakhla oasis in the Wadi Al-Gedid governorate covering 4,000 feddans in cooperation between the Ministry of Tourism and the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Experts say the museum will revive desert tourism with all its forms in an attempt to make use of Egypt's unique desert wealth.

The museum, which will be named after desert expert Ahmed Fakhri, will include pre-dynastic inscriptions and Pharaonic, Graeco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic items in addition to crafts of the area.

The museum will not only be a place for displaying antiquities but a cultural educational centre providing information about safari trips. It will also include a conference and cinema room.

Sharqiya horse festival

THE 15TH round of the Sharqiya Festival for Arab horses was held on 15 feddans on the Cairo-Belbeis desert road from 30 August to 2 September under the auspices of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.

The festival included masters jumping, open class jumping, folklore dancing, gymnastics by young riders and the Cairo Police Cavalry, an Arab horse show, and a beauty contest for Arab horses.

Participants of the festival were the Egyptian Equestrian Federation, the Egyptian Polo Federation, Armed Forces Equestrian Club, Republican Guard Equestrian Club, Police Academy, Police Sports Federation, Police Training Administration and Arab horse farms.


First Rib Rally

SHARM EL-SHEIKH is currently hosting Egypt's first Rib Rally from 1 September to 10 September. Nicholas Ioannou, head of the organising committee said there are 30 participants from England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Greece and Egypt and that the rally will be held in Egypt annually after it has been listed in the International Federation for Engines.

Amgad Hassoun, board chairman of Flash Group and the Egyptian organiser of the hotel, said the first phase of the rally started from in front of Sheraton Sharm El-Sheikh to El-Gouna port on the Red Sea. Other phases will include Port Ghalib, Soma Bay then back to Sharm El-Sheikh.

Peter Batler, international photographer of Formula 1 races, said Rib Rally was a source of tourist and media attraction because of the participation of international teams besides the intensive media coverage of the event.

Major local and international channels are covering the event and will use it as a marketing tool for Egypt.

The event is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, the Egyptian Federation for Sailing, Egyptian Federation of Water Skiing, Royal Federation for Yachts, Flash Tours, Echinops LTD and sponsored by Sheraton Sharm El-Sheikh, Ras Ghareb Company, Land Rover and Aphrodite Marine. EgyptAir is the official carrier and Sports & Fitness is the official magazine of the event.

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