Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 December 2007
Issue No. 874
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Airlines & airports

Etihad flies to 45 destinations

ETIHAD Airways has announced that it is now possible to fly out of Cairo to 45 destinations worldwide through Abu Dhabi. "With flights from the Middle East to Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and now Australia, our target is to fly four million passengers by the end of the year," said James Hogan, CEO Etihad Airways.

An increase of 111 per cent in the airliner's passenger rate is evident in the first half of this year in which Etihad Airways carried more than 1.9 million passengers in comparison to 900,000 passengers in the first half of 2006.

Hogan added that Etihad had placed an order for 12 new wide-body aircraft worth $2.2 billion. The order consists of four A340-600s, five A330 passenger aircraft and three A330 freighters.

Code share agreement to increase tourists

"INSTEAD of having 17 flights a week between Egypt and Germany, we'll have 31." This is how Peter Emmerich, regional director passenger sales Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen described the benefits of the recent code share agreement between Lufthansa and EgyptAir at a press conference held recently on the occasion of his retirement after 41 years of working with Lufthansa, and the appointment of Klaus Fussi as the new director starting January.

EgyptAir and Lufthansa German Airlines successfully launched their first code-share flights on 28 October. The code-sharing is being introduced on EgyptAir's daily services from Cairo to Frankfurt and Munich, and Lufthansa's double daily services from Cairo to Frankfurt, as well as on its three weekly flights from Alexandria to Frankfurt. This will bring the total to 31 code-share flights being operated by EgyptAir and Lufthansa. Commercial cooperation between both carriers is planned to cover other domestic and international destinations in the future.

Passengers of EgyptAir and Lufthansa will benefit from the mutually coordinated timetables with more flight possibilities and convenient connections between Germany and Egypt. Passengers will also be able to take advantage of additional frequent flyer programme benefits. They can accrue and redeem miles on all code share flights.

Officials believe that the code share agreement between the German and the Egyptian airlines will increase the tourist movement between the two countries especially since Germany is one of the top 10 countries sending tourists to Egypt. With nearly one million German tourists visiting Egypt every year, the market potential for growth is enormous. In order to encourage tourism, the Egyptian government has made further investments in infrastructure to support and expand the rich offering of tourist destinations and attractions. "We strongly benefit from this potential,' said Joachim Steinbach, vice- president of sales and services in southeast Europe, Africa and Middle East, highlighting the recent investments made by the tourist authorities in Egypt. Steinbach said Lufthansa is proud to be the only European carrier connecting Alexandria with Frankfurt three times a week.

Hotels & resorts

Sheraton Miramar renews agreement

STARWOOD Hotels and Resorts has announced the signing of an agreement with Orascom Hotels and Development for a 20-year renewal of its management agreement for Sheraton Miramar Hotel in El-Gouna.

The 338-room hotel, uniquely designed by world renowned architect Michael Graves, will be totally renovated in the next 18 months. Sweet Sleepers beds, flat screen TVs and state-of-the-art bathrooms will be incorporated.

Sheraton Miramar Resort in El-Gouna is in an exciting location and has been managed under Sheraton brand since its opening in October 1997. "We are grateful for the confidence given to us by Orascom Hotels and Development," said Ibrahim Fahmi, managing director of Starwood Hotels and Resorts-Egypt.

Season festivities

CHRISTMAS is coming and most hotels in Cairo are preparing for the festive season with special decorations and mouthwatering menus. The newly opened Sofitel Al-Gezirah will start the celebrations from today until 25 December with the Christmas tree switched on at 6pm daily with 45-minute Christmas carols. The Sud and Vendôme restaurants will offer special menus from 24 to 26 December. Midnight fireworks can be enjoyed over oysters and champagne in the lobby's bar as well as a fabulously themed brunch in the Sud Restaurant on 1 January.

In Grand Hyatt Cairo, you will instantly get into the Christmas spirit upon entering the Lobby Bar & Delice where you will enjoy special holiday decorations and classic carols played in the background by professional musicians. For Christmas and New Year, the hotel will offer a variety of dining occasions in venues that all overlook the Nile. For a cosy gathering with family and friends on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, guests can enjoy wide-ranging buffets in Fontana Restaurant, which is surrounded by the Nile, or they can enjoy an elegant festive ambiance in the Revolving Restaurant, the highest in Cairo, which will offer delicate mouthwatering menus. Alternatively, guests can hop aboard Marquis Yacht, which offers the very best in international delicacies.

Ramses Hilton will start celebrations on 9 December with a live show from a Christmas choir at the Garden Court Café. On 16 December children can enjoy the hotel's kids party where Santa makes an appearance. On Christmas Eve, Chef Dimitrios will prepare traditional Christmas favourites throughout this festive period. Father Christmas will be popping into the Christmas Day family lunch at the Terrace Café Restaurant. On New Year's Eve, guests can celebrate in the hotel's roof-top restaurant, Windows on the World, where they can enjoy a delicious course menu with live entertainment while enjoying a panoramic view of Cairo from atop. Guests can also try Citadel Grill Mediterranean Restaurant which will feature an elegant candle-lit dinner accompanied by a guitarist and flutist.

If you want to spend the festivities in style, then Four Seasons Nile Plaza is the place. Zitouni Restaurant will offer an extensive Christmas buffet with live music. The hotel's Lobby Lounge will celebrate Christmas with a chocolate themed buffet, offering seasonal favourites including hot chocolate with marshmallows, chocolate Christmas dome cakes and a wide variety of cakes and pastries.

For the New Year's celebrations, the hotel's main restaurants will be offering special New Year's menus featuring mouth- watering five-course menus and live jazz entertainment in Aqua and in Steaks.

In Cairo Marriott Hotel, guests can enjoy the wonderfully eclectic New Year dinner buffet at Omar's Café or try the six- course candle-lit dinner at The View overlooking the Nile and be entertained by the charming sounds of the violin and cello. If an intimate family celebration is what you seek, Ristorante Tuscany and JW's Steakhouse will be serving set menus in an elegant tranquil atmosphere.


QTA in Cairo

THIS week 1,500 representatives of the German travel industry converged in Cairo for the QTA (Quality Travel Alliance) annual conference in the period from 29 November to 2 December.

QTA is the largest strategic alliance of German BEST-RMG, Neckermann Reisen Partner/Team, RTK, Schmetterling and TUI TRAVELStar travel agency cooperations.

"Basically, we wanted to go abroad and hold a conference with all the members of the alliance in a special place to commemorate our fifth anniversary. We thought that Egypt seemed very suitable. With Cairo, we have a city that's important in tourism and one that has a rich history, a wide range of products and excellent infrastructure," said Thomas Bosl, QTA spokesperson.

At the opening of the QTA congress at Cairo International Conference Centre, Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garranah stressed that Germany is one of the most important tourism markets exporting tourists to Egypt. Germany's importance in the Egyptian tourism industry is confirmed by numbers from 2006. Nearly 967,000 Germans visited Egypt, booking upwards of 9.5 million overnight stays.

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