ITB Berlin News 2020 #2

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02

ITB BERLIN:

THE EYES AND EARS

OF TOURISM!

TAKING YOU ON A VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE WORLD’S

MOST EXOTIC, BREATH-TAKING DESTINATIONS

DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT

MIDDLE EAST

& AFRICA

#31

#16

EXCLUSIVE

INTERVIEW

AHMED BIN NASSER

BIN HAMED AL MAHRIZI

Minister of Tourism,

Oman

ITB BERLIN CONVENTION

Caroline

Bremner

Head of Travel Research,

Euromonitor

SPECIAL FEATURE

TRANSPORT

#14

#23


EDITORIAL

Richard Barnes

Editor-in-Chief,

ITB Berlin News

What’s top of mind? What should be?

What’s the topic that’s at the top of people’s

minds today? Yes, you are right, it’s ecology

– and the future of the planet. Oh, what

about the virus? It’s temporary… it’s terrible,

damaging, in particular for people who had

been planning to attend trade shows like this

one… But it’s temporary. In a few years, it will

just be a memory.

On the other hand, some of the hottest topics

up for discussion this year – as in previous

ones at ITB Berlin – have been those of

sustainability, eco-responsibility, CSR… in a

nutshell, how to ensure tourism is a good thing

for local communities, and for the planet.

It is up to everyone in the industry to ensure

that despite the fact there hasn’t been a

face-to-face pow-wow on the topic in Berlin

this year, that best practices are honed and

promoted, and that responsibility is top of

mind. To this end, readers should refer to

the Virtual ITB Convention online – where

a number of presentations are available,

highlighting thought leadership, and tackling

the major issues of our time. As Eric La

Bonnardiere, Co-Founder Evaneos put it

so well in his online presentation, “We risk

creating a parallel world for tourists – a kind

of ‘folklorisation’ of the destination – very far

from the reality of the destination – in that

situation, we lose the magic of travel.”

Despite the disruption caused by the

coronavirus, it is important to stay focused on

what’s important in the long-term. Thankfully,

the online presentations on ITB.com can help

us do that

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CONTENTS

#05 NEWS

#12 ITB BERLIN

CONVENTION

#13 RESPONSIBLE

TOURISM

#14 EXCLUSIVE

INTERVIEWS

#29 REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT

MIDDLE EAST

& AFRICA

#50

WHERE

TO GO IN

BERLIN

SPECIAL FEATURES

#19 CYCLING TOURISM

#21 TRANSPORT

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 3



I NEWS I

B2Book and OYO

Vacation Homes

join forces

Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

B2Book – the Rome-based B2B vacation rental platform

between tourist accommodation owners and TOs, TAs

and OTAs – has announced a partnership with OYO

Vacation Homes (OVH), one of the leading holiday rental

companies in Europe.

B2Book top three:

Fabrizio Bianchi, CTO; Marco Scipinotti, CEO;

Fabio Angeli Bufalini, CCO (from left to right)

Meliá leads

Merco corporate

responsibility

ranking

B2Book's API integrations

are designed to open up new

B2B portals and access larger

customer pools, which should

prove an essential tool for OVH:

the Amsterdam-based company is

eagerly expanding, having recently

announced the acquisition of

TUI’s Holiday Home Tour Operator

business among many others.

B2Book has finalised the

integration of OVH’s listings for

holiday rentals. As a result of this

partnership, with almost 25,000

OVH properties listed, B2Book will

enlarge its portfolio to a total of

125,000 distributed apartments in

the world with the main presence in

Europe and USA.

“We are delighted to collaborate

with B2Book and we are confident

that this agreement will be a new

step of success in our distribution

strategy”, said Martijn Leenders,

SVP, Distribution, OVM.

“We believe that this partnership

with OYO Vacation Homes will

be very successful for us, having

the opportunity to integrate their

inventory on our channel and

distribute it to all travel professional

operators globally”, added Marco

Scipinotti, CEO, B2Book.

The mutual benefits are clear:

OYO ("On Your Own") is an

ambitious major player – it

acquired @Leisure Group in 2019,

has several subsidiary brands,

and recently enlarged its global

footprint in a deal with AirBnB

– while B2Book is a fast-rising

startup, offering an additional

channel to the traditional ones for

vacation rentals distribution to the

whole and exclusively B2B target

market. Through this partnership,

professional TAs, TOs and OTAs will

be able to access the global holiday

rental product at the best market

commissions

For the third consecutive year, Meliá Hotels International

has been named leader of the Merco Corporate

Responsibility and Governance ranking, a business

evaluation system that ranks the top 100 Spanish

companies with regard to their corporate reputation.

Merco is the leading business

monitor in Latin America and has

been evaluating corporate reputation

since 1999 and CSR factors for the

last nine years. The research and

analysis is carried out according to

the ISO 20252 and ICC/ESOMAR

code of conduct.

The comprehensive evaluation

system involves assessment by

numerous people, including experts

in CSR, financial analysts, journalists

and trade unions, among others.

The report collates and compares

their opinions on aspects such as

transparency and good governance,

responsibility towards employees,

quality of reporting, commitment to

the community and the environment

or respect for consumer rights.

This result (first in the “Hospitality

and Tourism" category and

seventeenth in the global ranking)

is a further acknowledgement

of Meliá's responsible business

management model in the opinion of

all the different groups involved in the

survey. After three years at the top of

the ranking, the company continues

to lead initiatives to create a more

sustainable hotel industry, further

recognised by being named the

“Most Sustainable Hotel Company in

the World" in the SAM Sustainability

Yearbook by the leading global

agency in assessing companies with

regard to social, environmental and

corporate governance factors

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 5



I NEWS I

Alexander

Leferov

Chief Business

Development Officer,

ECOMMPAY

Payment trends:

how modern tourists are

choosing their trips

Speaking to ITB Berlin News, Alexander Leferov, Chief Business

Development Officer, ECOMMPAY, described the main behavioural

trends facing the industry as we enter a new decade.

In 2020, tourists are breaking away from the

long-standing tradition of decisiveness and

caution, opting instead to pay more for their

"ideal" holiday. The industry has reacted

immediately to these new payment trends.

Bespoke luxury itineraries require prior

confirmation and prepayment. Previously, the

invoice would be sent by mail, signed, scanned,

and then paid. Now, this has all been replaced

by the automatically-generated payment link,

sent digitally to the client.

What other trends are affecting payment

methods?

The biggest payment trend for heritage

tourism - where people go off-grid to source

their ancestry - is alternative payment

methods. Visa, Mastercard, and American

Express cards still aren’t available everywhere.

Many Europeans prefer the convenience of

virtual wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay for

international travel.

How does sustainable tourism change

payment behaviours?

In 2020, socially conscious holidaymakers

are keeping the environment in mind. Already,

48% of respondents to a Booking.com survey

are planning to reduce their global footprint

by travelling by more eco-friendly means and

reduce plastic waste. As society edges ever

further to a cashless reality, it becomes harder

and harder to escape reliance on this payment

system

NEW RAILHUB

TECHNOLOGY –

A “SINGLE-ENTRY

INTERFACE”

Rail travel is a trend in Europe, but when it comes

to online booking, things can get complicated.

As a leading railway technology provider, Online

Travel, an IT specialist from Switzerland, offers

its customers a single-entry interface to the

European railways.

Using an intuitive online booking platform,

SNCF, DB, ÖBB, Trenitalia and SBB train tickets,

accommodation, and a wide range of additional

services can be easily combined into a package

or booked as individual services. The technology

accesses rates that are updated daily via direct

interfaces to the individual service providers

and checks their availability within seconds.

Helpful functions such as best-price search, seat

reservations and night train bookings are part of

the standard scope of services

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 7



ADVERTORIAL

I NEWS I

Martinique:

new air links boost tourism

Air Belgium announces expanded schedule for

2020 after major success of 2019 flights

Starting in winter 2020, Air Belgium is set to increase

its volume of flights to Martinique, as part of an overall

increase in links from Europe.

Martinique lies in the arch of

the Lesser Antilles islands in

the Caribbean. The island is

approximately 70km long and

30km wide. The island territory

invites visitors on an extraordinary

journey to discover its unspoilt

natural landscapes, grandiose

scenery and cultural traditions.

An idyllic island surrounded by

the turquoise-blue waters of the

Caribbean, it delights visitors

with its contrasting colours, its

warm and friendly inhabitants,

and its rich historical and cultural

heritage.

And Martinique has never been

more accessible. Since December

2019, Air Belgium has been

providing direct services to

Martinique from Brussels Charleroi,

facilitating access to the entire

northern part Europe. These

developments follow the arrival of

Level in 2018 (with the opening of

an agency in the terminal and the

tripling of the frequency of weekly

flights). Traditional operators (Air

France, Air Caraïbes, Corsair)

already reinforced by American

Airlines and Air Canada, are

improving their frequencies and

continuing to modernise their

fleets. And for the German clientele,

there is important news, with Air

France adding Munich/Orly links

from 29 March, greatly enhancing

possibilities of transport to

Martinique.

MODERNISATION AND

EXTENSION FOR

MARTINIQUE’S

INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Renovation and extension works

at Martinique’s Aimé Césaire

of Lamentin airport are due for

completion in 2020. The terminal

will virtually double in size, with

bigger baggage delivery areas and

boarding lounges, along with a

bigger check-in zone

© CMT - Haughton

HIKING AND NATURE-

BASED OUTDOOR

ACTIVITIES

With more than 250km of footpaths

linking beaches, tropical forests,

mountains and pitons, walkers are in

their element as they explore the island

along the French Hiking Federation’s

ten official hiking routes and the dozen

or so other paths currently awaiting

official status. The Presqu’île de la

Caravelle offers three paths for gentle

walking, while in the south, the Savane

des Pétrifications, a former crater, will

delight all those who visit it. Mount Pelée,

the island’s highest peak (1,397m), is

accessible via several footpaths from Le

Prêcheur, Grand’ Rivière or directly from

the hills of Le Morne-Rouge.

© R. Pakiela

A DIVERS’ PARADISE

Martinique diving

For qualified Scuba divers, or uninitiated

snorkelers (even children), the waters

around Martinique are home to hugely

diverse marine flora and fauna which

include many species of tropical fish,

soft coral, sea turtles and mammals.

These include the Lakay underwater

trail at Les Anses d’Arlet, marked by four

buoys, which boasts numerous species

of fish, coral, shells, seagrass and turtles.

For visitors wishing to observe marine

mammals, excursions in the heart of

the AGOA Sanctuary are run in carefully

controlled conditions which protect and

preserve the environment (Martinique

boasts no fewer than 21 different species

of cetaceans).

Martinique is also home to listed and

protected underwater remains such as

the shipwrecks in Saint-Pierre bay, which

date back to the explosion of Mount

Pelée in 1902.

HOTEL NEWS

The Hotel Plein Soleil –

a well-deserved 4*:

After three months of

intense work, the Hotel Plein

Soleil shines again at the

François, in an even more

idyllic setting and proudly

displaying its 4 th star.

The iconic Hotel Diamant

les Bains 4* – a longawaited

reopening:

Facing the famous Diamond

Rock, the Diamond Les

Bains hotel residence

invites guests back after a

major refurbishment.

NEW - The Pelican Hotel 3*

– between sea and

mountains:

Halfway between the North

and South of Martinique,

Hotel Pelican opens its

doors and offers stunning

views of the Caribbean Sea.

The Bambou Hotel 3*

– serving biodiversity:

Awarded the Green

Key label dedicated to

sustainable tourism, Hotel

Bambou welcomes guests

in environmentally friendly

surroundings.

8 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 9



I ITB GLOBAL I

ITB is going global

The global brand aims to cement ITB's position as "the world's leading travel hub"

ITB is increasingly going global, with travel trade shows in

Berlin, China, Singapore and, soon, in India. We asked Dr

Martin Buck, Senior Vice President Travel and Logistics of

ITB's organiser, Messe Berlin, about the importance of the

"ITB Global" brand.

In the past 12 years we have given

the ITB brand an increasingly

international dimension. The

potential of the travel industry has to

be regarded from a global perspective

which in turn means that ITB as the

“The World’s Leading Travel Hub” has

to act on a global dimension as well.

ITB has long established itself as an

international brand. With its leading

trade shows in Berlin, Shanghai,

Singapore and soon also Mumbai,

the brand participates in the fastestgrowing

markets and is a trendsetter

in the tourism world. Our customers,

exhibitors, visitors and the media are

expecting a global leader for travel

trade business and insights and that’s

what we care most about 365 days a

year. Obviously the market changes,

we see new developments and trends

within the travel industry and thus,

in order to not simply rely on our

successful trade shows we want to

fully stand behind what we promise

when we say ITB is the “World’s

Leading Travel Hub”. If you want to

achieve a global standing and stay

ahead of the game, you’ll have to think

ahead accordingly. That’s what we did

we our newest project itb.com.

How and why does this differ from

having separate trade shows, and

how does the global brand fit in with

the shows?

With our four ITB brand events in

Berlin, China, India and Singapore, we

strive to lead in four core performance

areas - content, contacts,

responsibility and service. These are

essential parts of the "mother" event

in Berlin and the most promising

overseas markets.

How do people benefit from this?

Everyone who is part of the travel

industry should be part of ITB’s

network. Since 1966, ITB has been

inspiring with content whilst linking

the global travel industry by providing

unrivalled customer experience. In

times of rapid change, ITB’s brands

Dr Martin

Buck,

Senior Vice President

Travel & Logistics,

Messe Berlin

are a trusted and efficient partner for

business and networking on a global

scale, no matter whether you are an

industry newcomer or an old hand.

Our new network, itb.com, connects

everyone with the relevant people and

insights of the industry everywhere

and every day

A FIRST FOR 2021:

ITB INDIA

Messe Berlin appoints Indo-German Chamber of Commerce

as event organiser of inaugural ITB India - (L-R):

Bernhard Steinrücke, Director General of IGCC;

and Dirk Hoffmann, Chief Financial Officer, Messe Berlin

The inaugural ITB India is scheduled to take place at the Bombay

Exhibition Centre in Mumbai, India, from 7 to 9 April 2021.

The show will bring together key travel

industry leaders and buyers from

cities across India, and international

exhibitors from the MICE, leisure and

corporate sectors.

ITB India will also have a Hosted Buyers’

Programme that will cater to buyers

from first, second, and third tier cities

in India. One of the fastest-growing

major economies and with the secondlargest

population in the world, India

has vast potential for both inbound

and outbound travel. The Indian travel

industry is expected to be valued at

€49bn by 2020 with UNTWO, the

World Tourism Organisation, predicting

that there will 50 million outbound

travellers by then. ITB India represents

a major opportunity for National

Tourism Organisations (NTOs), travel,

and hospitality companies to be part

of this dramatically expanding market

opportunity.

“In recent years, we have given the ITB

brand an increasingly international

dimension,” said Dr Christian Göke,

Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin.

“From a global and regional perspective,

India is a vast source market for the

travel industry with a huge growth

potential. We are delighted that ITB

India will in future complement the trio

of ITB Berlin, ITB Asia and ITB China,

making it a quartet and strengthening

the global ITB brand.” India’s economic

growth means that its citizens are

earning more disposable income to

spend on travel. India’s outbound travel

expenditure increased 7% on average

year-on-year between 2006 and 2016

and saw an even higher growth rate of

8.5% in travel expenditure from 2015 to

2016. This rate was considerably higher

than growth rates seen by other major

countries including China, Indonesia,

and Brazil for the same period

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 11



I ITB BERLIN CONVENTION I

I RESPONSIBLE TOURISM I

What’s next, after the

tourism industry’s

“perfect storm”?

Caroline

Bremner,

Euromonitor

THE WORLD

POPULATION

WILL TOP 9

BILLION BY

2040

CAROLINE

BREMNER

An ITB Keynote Panel was set to look at “The Future

of The Tourism Industry in Times of Digital Disruption,

Climate Emergency, and Thomas Cook & Co”.

The session was to have been introduced by Caroline

Bremner, Head of Travel Research, Euromonitor

International. In these times when the tourism industry

is experiencing “the perfect storm”, we asked Caroline

how one should be approaching the situation.

Looking long term to 2040 helps

give a view of what the future

may hold for the travel and

tourism industry. The global

economy will continue to pivot

east, with Asia Pacific forecast

to hold 56% of global GDP, whilst

Western Europe is forecast to

lose 5% share to reach 11% by

2040. The world population will

top 9 billion by 2040, and rural

population will peak by 2026,

as urbanisation will accelerate

to account for 64% of the world

expected to live in cities.

The travel and tourism industry

will continue on its journey of

digital transformation, where

already 70% of airlines sales

are made online, compared

to only 10% for activities and

experiences. 67% of travel

businesses said that their top

priority over the next five years

are big data and analytics,

pointing to the growing

importance of personalisation.

Artificial intelligence is another

key area of investment,

and we’re already seeing

voice commerce emerging,

driven by digital assistants,

already accounting for 1.7% of all

digital sales in the US in 2019

ADVERTORIAL

COMPENSAID:

a ground-breaking

solution for

sustainable travel

Lufthansa Innovation Hub, the Berlin-based digital business spearhead

of Lufthansa Group, has developed a ground-breaking consumer

solution for using sustainable aviation fuel. Since August 2019, for

the first time, travellers have the option of replacing conventional

kerosene with Sustainable Aviation Fuel on the compensation platform

Compensaid, regardless of their choice of airline.

In the long run, Sustainable Aviation Fuel

(SAF) is a decisive key technology for

making the future of aviation nearly carbonneutral.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels can be produced

in various ways reusing CO2 stocks such

as waste oils, grease or even directly

captured from the air. The sustainability of

SAF lies in its manufacturing process: the

carbon emitted during flight operations was

previously absorbed in the form of biomass

or gas. Currently, these SAFs reduce carbon

emission by approximately 80% compared

to fossil kerosene, aiming for 100% CO2

reduction in the future.

The Compensaid platform

calculates the price

difference and then

Lufthansa uses SAF on

flights departing from

Frankfurt and San

Francisco.

Alternatively, for positive climate effects

in the long term, customers can support a

reforestation project in Nicaragua through

the Swiss foundation myclimate, which

has been a Lufthansa Group partner for

effective climate protection since 2007. The

Compensaid platform allows travellers to

decide for themselves how they want to

reduce the carbon emissions of their flights.

A combination of the two options is also

possible.

Compensaid is the world’s first online service

of its kind, giving customers a transparent

and efficient possibility to almost completely

offset their carbon emissions from air travel

by using Sustainable Aviation Fuel. The

Group airlines Lufthansa

and SWISS have

already integrated

Compensaid into their

booking platforms as

the key compensation

method

The new

Compensaid app.

12 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 13



I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

An incredible Arabian tourism

experience

Exclusive interview: Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism, Oman

Ahmed Bin Nasser

Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi

Minister of Tourism,

Sultanate of Oman

Wadi Bani Khalid, Sharqiyah region, Muscat, Oman

The Sultanate of Oman surprises by its variety of tourism

assets. But just what does the nation offer? We put the question

to Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi, the Sultanate’s

Minister of Tourism.

Oman offers awe-inspiring natural

landscapes, a unique diversity of flora

and fauna, charming traditional villages,

unique forts and castles, archaeological

treasures of world-class quality and

intangible traditions, all contributing to

creating a unique Omani experience.

These elements and more is used

to attract tourists to Oman. Oman is

highlighting its incredible coastline,

desserts, wadis, mountains, flora and

fauna, tradition and values, symbols,

heritage, cities and villages. We see the

pride and prosperity of Omani people

growing as they welcome visitors to

their land and to their culture and

we see the Omani spirit and culture

growing stronger and more confident

in the process. We see world travellers

experiencing Arabia in new ways. We see

bridges of understanding and tolerance

growing stronger in the world. Oman

will move you. It will unveil history you

never knew before and open your eyes

OMAN IS BLESSED

TO HAVE ALMOST

ALL THE NATURAL

INGREDIENTS

TO MAKE IT AN

IDEAL TOURIST

DESTINATION.

and hearts to culture, art, civilisation and

traditions that will expand your horizons.

How is Oman’s tourist infrastructure

evolving?

The infrastructure of the tourism

sector in the Sultanate of Oman, along

© Richard Bartz

with its facilities, services and

products, is growing from

year to year. Oman is blessed

to have almost all the natural

ingredients to make it an ideal

tourist destination. World class

accommodation for different

categories and standards are

available in all governorates of

the Sultanate of Oman. By the

end of the year 2019, around

492 hotel establishments

were operational with

24,531 rooms. 47 new

hotel establishments are

expected to open in 2020,

adding 2,159 more rooms to

the existing capacity. There

are also facilities which

support specialised sectors

(like MICE). These facilities

have the most modern and

high-quality designs, such

as the newly-built Oman

Convention and Exhibition

Centre which will allow

to accommodate large

exhibitions, conferences

and international meetings.

What kinds of tourism are

growing the fastest?

The Sultanate of Oman

has always been interested

in attracting tourism from

markets with responsible

tourist groups whose spending

is higher, and from which

travellers come throughout the

year.

We consider Europe an

important source market for

Oman. Tourists from the United

Kingdom, Germany, France,

Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium,

Scandinavia, India, and the Gulf

countries flock to the Sultanate

in large numbers. With an aim

to further diversify source

markets for Oman, we are also

targeting the United States,

Russia and China for the future.

We already observed growth

in the number of Russian and

Chinese tourists last year,

thanks to the implementation

of “visa on arrival” policy for

these nationalities. Another

contributing factor is the

availability of daily non-stop

flights that connect these

destinations with Oman, in

OMAN WILL MOVE

YOU; IT WILL

UNVEIL HISTORY

YOU NEVER KNEW

BEFORE AND

OPEN YOUR EYES

AND HEARTS TO

CULTURE, ART,

CIVILISATION

AND TRADITIONS

THAT WILL

EXPAND YOUR

HORIZONS.

addition to the opening of a

tourism representative office in

Russia in 2019. Another office

is set to open in China in 2020.

How are you working to

develop the business tourism

sector in Oman?

The Oman Convention Bureau

within the Ministry of Tourism

has adopted several strategic

measures with an aim to attract

more business travellers to

the Sultanate. In line with

this, we are working towards

connecting the sector’s local

partners, bringing them

together to streamline and

unify marketing efforts, simplify

procedures, and provide them

with more incentives and offers

that will help attract business

tourism.

We are working towards

ensuring the best utilisation of

the Sultanate’s memberships

in several specialised

international and regional

federations and associations

concerned with the business

tourism sector. In this way,

we can take advantage

of the information that

is available to us as

members with regard to

opportunities to host these

events and conferences.

Furthermore, we also

promote the Sultanate’s

unique tourism capabilities

in these meetings, which

are attended by important

global organisations

specialising in business

tourism, such as ICCA,

PCMA, Site and UFI

© yeowatzup

OMAN: WHAT

MAKES IT

DIFFERENT?

Manah, Oman

To experience Oman is to go on a journey.

While many places in Oman alone justify a

longer stay, the greatest experiences share

something of the nomadic nature of the

Bedouin, of the caravan. Oman is a land

of natural contrasts and great diversity.

In shaping the ideal experiences for our

discerning travellers, they are guided on a

series of journeys throughout the Sultanate.

Over the next years, Oman’s government plans

to further develop a tourism infrastructure

capable of delivering “memorable, rich and

varied experiences, drawing on passion, knowhow,

nature and culture”. There are countless

authentic, delightful Omani places to stay,

each with their own unique sense of place.

Oman aims to attract discerning travellers;

independent tourists with a high level of

education and income, who share a taste for

culture and who are interested in exploring

new destinations. To attract those travellers,

Oman’s proposal is based on a blend of

natural and cultural attractions with a touch

of authenticity that is unique in the region - a

set of well-established routes and innovative

experiences that truly differentiate Oman as

a destination.

14 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 15



I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

A difficult decision… and a new vision

David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin – on the cancellation of the show… and counter measures being put in place

David Ruetz

Head of ITB Berlin

FOLLOWING

THE SHOW’S

CANCELLATION,

THE ITB TEAM

EXPANDED

THE FUNCTIONS

OF ITB.COM AT

SHORT NOTICE

Looking back at the cancellation of this year’s ITB

Berlin, we asked David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, just

how difficult it was to make the decision, and what the

process was behind it.

Messe Berlin had been pointing

out for weeks that the decision to

hold or cancel major events could

only be made on the basis of the

recommendation or instruction

of the relevant authorities.

Only these authorities have

all the necessary information

and expertise to draw the right

conclusions. Torn between the

wellbeing of all participants and

the economic consequences,

the authorities had to make a

difficult decision. The responsible

public health authority of

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf of

Berlin had greatly increased the

requirements for holding the

event.

What has the general feedback

been like from exhibitors and

would-be attendees?

As far-reaching as the

consequences were for visitors

and above all for exhibitors –

there was widespread sympathy

for the decision. This is

totally out of the ordinary.

Nothing like this has ever

happened before in the

history of ITB Berlin. The

reactions we received were

mainly positive.

You have countered some

of the negative effects of

the show’s cancellation

with the launch of ITB.

com – a new platform for

industry communications.

What was the thinking

behind this, and what do

you hope to achieve thanks

to this site?

ITB has been a global brand for

some time now, and with ITB.com

it has acquired a digital platform.

This allows us to channel the

communications of all four trade

shows. This is where the global

ITB family can come together

and meet again, where they can

network on the 350 days in a

year when ITB is not taking place

somewhere in the world.

Can you tell us more about

the individual elements of ITB.

com and how people can benefit

from these?

ITB.com spans a bridge between

real-life meetings and digital

networking and features

innovative options for three areas:

networking, virtual conferences

and industry news. With the help

of AI, users are recommended

contacts that match their profile

and search options. This tool is

a digital extension of the event.

It allows trade visitors to make

better preparations ahead of the

show and target the contacts

they want to meet.

The launch of the website was

originally planned as a highlight

at the opening of this year’s ITB.

Following the show’s cancellation,

the ITB team expanded the

functions of ITB.com at short

notice. Over the weekend, the

idea came up to use ITB.com to

at least make holding a virtual

ITB Convention possible. The ITB

Virtual Convention has now been

on air since last Thursday at 1 pm.

At over 25 forward-looking events,

more than 35 international

speakers from ITB are discussing

how the world’s travel industry

can harness intelligent strategies

to make sure it remains futureproof

even in a challenging

environment. From 5 to 11 March

2020 viewers have been able to

follow exclusive live streams, in

German and partly in English, in

real time on itb.com. Afterwards,

they are being made available as

videos on demand.

The ITB team was also able to

set up “Virtual Rooms”, which

were originally scheduled for

a later date. This is where up

to four participants can have

a conversation via a video

call. It means lots of tourism

professionals can still hold the

meetings they had previously

planned for ITB.

Do you have plans for the site to

evolve or grow?

We want to continually expand

the services on the website and

make it a leading platform in line

with our three USPs: contacts,

content and commerce. Through

it we want to become the world’s

leading platform for the industry

– not just during the actual trade

shows, but digitally for 365 days

a year.

What has the feedback been so

far about the site?

The feedback to date has been

very positive. Over 2,200 users

registered during the first few

hours after the launch of ITB.

com was announced. The live

streams from the Virtual ITB

Convention have been followed

by 1,000 viewers per session.

Currently more than 3,400

meetings have been arranged

over the Travel Network, with

13,300 recommendations having

led to a connection and with more

than 4,300 messages being sent.

ITB.COM

SPANS A BRIDGE

BETWEEN REAL-

LIFE MEETINGS

AND DIGITAL

NETWORKING

Even in our “peoples’ business”,

this shows how important it is to

augment our industry platform

with a strong digital component.

What is your personal message

to those affected by the

cancellation of ITB Berlin?

Despite this unprecedented

situation in 2020 we would like

to stress how important the trade

show is conceptually for our

industry in the future. Naturally,

we are able to mirror individual

aspects digitally to a certain

degree. However, the travel

industry depends on face-to-face

meetings like no other.

We therefore look

forward to welcoming

the world again in the

customary manner in

Berlin in 2021

THE CONVENTION

YOU HAVE WHEN

YOU’RE NOT HAVING

A CONVENTION

The annual ITB Berlin Convention has so much exciting

news, so much expert knowledge, and so many

valuable opinions just waiting to be shouted out to the

entire tourism industry, that its cancellation would leave

a giant void.

And because the ITB Berlin

Convention and its 400+ speakers

could not simply be replaced,

ITB came up with something

completely new: the ITB Virtual

Convention.

From 5 to 11 March, international

top-notch speakers have been

sharing valuable content they

were to share on the stage in

Berlin LIVE online: easily and freely

accessible from anywhere you

are in the world at any time you

want. The ITB Virtual Convention

is a new compass in dynamic,

challenging times. It picks-up the

most relevant topics of the global

travel industry that will change and

shape the industry.

It’s a first for the industry, and

even when ITB gets back on a

level pegging, this will no doubt

become a valuable addition to the

overall recipe for the show’s global

success

16 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 17



I SPECIAL FEATURE I CYCLING TOURISM I

Sunset on the beach in Kochi

India's coastal paradise

welcomes cyclists

As Kerala continues to grow in its position as one of India's

most popular tourist destinations, local governments

are innovating with new products and experiences. The

Government of Kerala's District Tourism Promotion

Council (DTPC) are promoting cycling tours to and

around the multi-faceted port town of Kochi.

Nicknamed "The Queen of the

Arabian Sea", Kochi is an ancient

port city which, due to its location

on India's southwestern coast

where the Arabian Sea meets

the north Indian Ocean, boasts

historical influences from many

different global cultures.

Surrounded by nature and

biodiversity, cycling is the ideal way

to visit this region, both in terms of

accessibility and sustainability.

A joint project of Port Trust, DTPC

and Blue Tiger Tours, new bike

tours access backwaters, village

life, paddy fields, mangrove forests

and the many exotic locales of

Kochi, giving a freedom and a

unique viewpoint on the city. There

is a range of cycling packages on

offer, both with and without guides,

catering for a range of customers:

for the history enthusiast there

is Fort Kochi and the relics at the

ancient port of Muziris; for others

there is a serene non-touristic

beach area, harbouring backwater

lagoons, shrimp farms and the

chance to relax and take a ferry

ride. Other tour options include

Willingdon Island - India's largest

man-made island - which promises

an immersive day pedalling from

the majesty of the rugged coast, to

the coolness of the myriad parks

and lakes, along quiet and peaceful

roads

The Canal

des 2 Mers

by bike

The Canal des 2 Mers by

bike is more than 800

km long, connecting the

Atlantic Ocean to the

Mediterranean Sea along

the Gironde estuary, the

Garonne Canal and the

Canal du Midi (classed by

UNESCO). An outstanding

example of “slow tourism”

with plenty of cultural and

gastronomic stops.

THE GIRONDE ESTUARY

The largest estuary in Europe, the

Gironde estuary is a reservoir of

biodiversity with extraordinary

landscapes, including islands, cliffs

and cave dwellings, castles and wine

estates. Cyclists can also discover

Bordeaux, a UNESCO World

Heritage Site.

THE GARONNE CANAL

Inscribed as a UNESCO site, it links

the Garonne River and the Canal

du Midi to the Mediterranean Sea.

After the vineyards of Entre-Deux-

Mers, they can take the green path

along the canal in the shade of

centuriesold plane trees to Agen.

On green roads (without cars), they

can discover landscapes with an air

of Tuscany. From Agen to Moissac

and Montauban, “Cities of art and

history” to Toulouse, the Pink City

ADVERTORIAL

CYCLING AND

HIKING IN OVČAR

AND KABLAR

MOUNTAINS

Cycling in the Ovčar Kablar Gorge, Serbia

Located in Central

Serbia, on the river

banks of Zapadna

Morava, surrounded

by mountains and one

of the most beautiful

gorges in Serbia, Ovčar

Kablar Gorge. Ovcar

and Kablar mountains

present an excellent

destination for hiking

and cycling. The cycling

routes include the

Kablar circular route, 29

km and Ovčar route, 16

km one-way.

Not to be missed is a

karst limestone canyon

protected by the two

mountain peaks. It is

home to many medieval

monasteries. In nearby

Čačak, visitors can

discover spas and enjoy

the well-preserved city

centre with its numerous

19 th century mansions

18 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 19



I SPECIAL FEATURE I TRANSPORT I

Air transport

2019 – 4.1% growth in international traffic

2019 international passenger traffic climbed 4.1%

compared to 2018, down from 7.1% annual growth the

year before, according to figures published by IATA.

Capacity rose 3.0% and load factor edged up 0.8 of a

percentage point to 82.0%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ fullyear

traffic increased 4.5% in

2019, which was a large decline

compared to 8.5% growth in 2018.

This reflected the impact of the

US-China trade war as well as

weakening business confidence

and economic activity. Capacity

rose 4.1%, and load factor ticked

up 0.3 percentage point to 80.9%.

European carriers saw a 4.4%

traffic rise in 2019, which was down

from 7.5% annual growth in 2018.

Capacity rose 3.7% and load factor

increased 0.6 percentage point to

85.6%, which was the highest for

any region. The lowered results are

attributable to generally slowing

economic activity; declining

business confidence, compounded

by industrial disputes (strikes);

Brexit uncertainty and the collapse

of a number of airlines.

M i d d l e E a s t e r n

airlines’ passenger demand

increased 2.6% last year, the

slowest pace of expansion among

all regions and down from 4.9%

growth in 2018. However, demand

began to recover in the fourth

quarter and the monthly growth of

6.4% in December led all regions.

Annual capacity climbed 0.1% and

load factor surged 1.8 percentage

points to 76.3%.

North American airlines saw

traffic growth slow to 3.9% last

year, down from 5.0% in 2018,

amid softer US economic activity

and weaker business confidence

compared to 2018. Capacity

climbed 2.2%, and load factor

strengthened 1.3 percentage

points to 84.0%, second highest

among the regions.

Latin American airlines’ traffic

climbed 3.0% in 2019, a dramatic

slowdown compared to 7.5%

annual growth in 2018. Capacity

rose 1.6% and load factor increased

by 1.1 percentage points to 82.9%.

The year was impacted by social

unrest and economic difficulties

in a number of countries in the

region.

African airlines led all regions with

a 5.0% demand increase, down

from 6.3% growth recorded for

2018. Capacity rose 4.5%, and load

factor edged up 0.3 percentage

point to 71.3%. Airlines in the

region benefitted from a generally

supportive economic backdrop

in 2019 as well as increases in air

transport connectivity

IATA and XCHG’s

CBL Markets

announce the

world’s first

"Airline Carbon

Exchange"

Xpansiv CBL Holding Group (XCHG)

and the International Air Transport

Association (IATA) announced in

January a partnership to develop

the Aviation Carbon Exchange

(ACE), a new and innovative way

for airlines to meet their emissionsreduction

commitments as outlined

in the Carbon Offset Reduction

Scheme for International Aviation

(CORSIA). CORSIA is a globaloffsetting

scheme ratified by

members of the International

Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),

designed to help the aviation

industry reach its goal of capping

CO2 emissions at 2020 levels. In Q1

2020, CBL Markets and IATA plan to

trial with airlines that want to start

offsetting voluntary credits as a

pilot phase.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 21



I SPECIAL FEATURE I TRANSPORT I

Latam © 2019 oneworld

Markus Orth,

Managing Director, Lufthansa City

Center Reisebüropartner GmbH

Maximilian Lober,

Co Founder & Managing

Director, Voya

LATAM TO LAUNCH

FIRST NON-STOP

FLIGHT BETWEEN

CHILE AND

GERMANY

Lufthansa City Center

and Voya to highlight NDC

NDC (New Distribution Capability) is an IATA

programme which enhances the capability of

communications between airlines and travel agents.

The new IATA communication

standard will allow travel agencies

and corporate customers to

purchase flights in a way only

possible previously on airline

websites. The system is also a

good incentive to let the travel

sales industry making use of the

latest technological possibilities.

Perfact processes are becoming

essential, especially in the area

of business travel. Ideally, a

single app should provide offers,

preferences, bookings and travel

documents accessible to anyone,

anywhere.

This is the concept followed by

Lufthansa City Center with the

start-up Voya. The partnership

combines in a single platform

all business travel processes,

offering online search and offline

support.

With modern start-up technology

and the wide-ranging LCC

corporate network, a connection

Used cooking oil - a sustainable

solution for jet fuel

In December, KLM purchased

sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for

flights out of Amsterdam Airport

Schiphol, produced by Neste from

used cooking oil. The company

says the new fuel will reduce CO2

emissions by up to 80% compared

to fossil kerosene. This is the

first time the fuel will be supplied

using the existing infrastructure

at Schiphol. Furthermore, Neste is

joining KLM’s Corporate BioFuel

Programme, and in doing so, the

firm will reduce the CO2 emissions

of its own business travel on KLM

flights by 100%.

"Using sustainable aviation fuel is

currently one of the most effective

ways to reduce CO2 emissions in

the airline industry. Owing largely

to the companies taking part

in the KLM Corporate BioFuel

Programme, we have been able to

make this purchase for the Dutch

market, giving a further impulse to

the consistent production of SAF,"

said KLM President & CEO Pieter

Elbers

is created between Voya’s

contemporary customer interface

and the efficient portfolio of the

Lufthansa City Center travel

agency partners. This means

that LCC can offer all corporate

customers a comprehensive range

of products and services. The new

digital travel management system

enables SME companies to book

their business trips efficiently and

work on a combination of online

booking and personal service

LATAM Airlines Group’s

new non-stop Santiago-

Frankfurt service went on

sale from February 7, making

them the only airline to offer

a non-stop flight between

Chile and Germany.

Starting June 30, 2020, LATAM will

offer three weekly flights between

the two cities, which will be operated

by Boeing 787-8 aircraft with 30

seats in Premium Business and 217

seats in Economy. With this new

itinerary, LATAM will offer 10 weekly

flights, non-stop or via its São Paulo/

Guarulhos hub, to Germany’s fifth

largest city and one of the most

important financial centres in Europe.

“Our non-stop flight between

Santiago and Frankfurt will strengthen

the connectivity between Chile and

Germany as well as significantly

reduce flight times”, said Nicolás

Salazar, Vice President of Network,

LATAM Airlines Group.

ITINERARY BETWEEN

SANTIAGO AND

FRANKFURT:

• LATAM Airlines Group flight LA708

will depart Santiago/SCL on Tuesday,

Thursday and Saturday at 21:20 (local

time) landing in Frankfurt/FRA at

05:40 (local time) the following day.

Flight time: 14 hours and 20 minutes.

• The return flight (LA709) will depart

Frankfurt on Wednesday, Friday and

Sunday at 19:25 (local time) and

arrive in Santiago at 04:40 (local

time) the next day. Flight time: 15

hours and 15 minutes

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 23



I SPECIAL FEATURE I TRANSPORT I

I SPECIAL FEATURE I TRANSPORT I

TIRANA

INTERNATIONAL

AIRPORT

REHABILITATION

BEGINS

© 2015 Attila Terbócs

Jost

Lammers

CEO, Munich AIrport

New "chief pilot" flying

high at Munich Airport

Innovating,

transforming and

progressing

China Southern Airlines reforms and

develops fresh synergies through new

Beijing Daxing hub

Renfe Train © 2019 HombreDHojalata

Tirana International Airport (TIA) has begun

one of its most important projects – "Airfield

2020" – involving rehabilitation of the

runway and taxiways facilitating improved

aircraft movement across the airfield.

The project will be

implemented over several

phases. Two taxiways

are currently undergoing

reconstruction, to a

length of some 1.5 km,

in compliance with

the requirements and

standards for the aircraft

expected to operate at TIA

over the next year. A width

of 45m for the taxiways

is designed to both

national and international

standards and regulations

for Category E aircraft

BANGKOK AIRWAYS

WINS 5-STAR RATING

Bangkok Airway's Airbus 319

and the taxiways will

be equipped with new

drainage and lighting

systems.

Alongside the restructuring

of the airfield, TIA will

continue to operate as

normal, including flights to

new destinations. Since 19

December 2019, the lowcost

carrier Wizz Air began

operations on its Tirana-

Vienna route

The experienced airport executive, Jost Lammers, has taken over

as chairman and CEO of the management board of Munich Airport.

Lammers, who is also president of the Airports Council International

(ACI) Europe, talks about current trends in the market.

We see a clear trend of moving away from

the basic airport and towards the "airport

city". The airport city complements its

core business with an attractive blend of

dining and shopping, hotels, conference

rooms, office space, medical practices and

special events. Another trend is the focus

on seamless travel concepts with the goal of

providing greater comfort and convenience

Jost Lammers assumed his new

duties on January 1, 2020, following the

retirement of Dr Michael Kerkloh, the longstanding

President, CEO and Labor Director

of Flughafen München GmbH (FMG), at the

end of 2019.

Lammers heads FMG's leadership team

alongside managing directors Thomas

Weyer (CFO and Infrastructure) and Andrea

Gebbeken (Commercial and Security).

Bangkok Airways was one of only

14 airlines to have been named

2020 Five Star Major Airline by

APEX (the Airline Passenger

Experience Association) – based

on feedback on more than a

million flights of 600 airlines over

the past year.

Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth,

President of Bangkok Airways

commented that, “This

recognition not only illustrates

passenger satisfaction on

our airline, but also conveys

the exemplary dedication of

our airline staff in providing

and an enhanced travel experience at the

airport, boosting customer satisfaction.

Which challenges and opportunities do you

see coming in 2020?

The two predominant issues facing the

airport world in 2020 and beyond are the

digitisation of airport processes and the

decarbonisation of air travel

MUNICH AIRPORT

47.9 million

passengers in 2019

Serves more than

260 destinations

More than 200

shops and restaurants

ADVERTORIAL

highest quality service for our

passengers. We promise to be

consistent with our excellent

service standards to underline

our commitment to be Asia's

Boutique Airline."

Bangkok Airways is one of

Southeast Asia’s oldest regional

full-service carriers, flying to 27

exotic destinations.

The company has also been

named “Asia’s Best Regional

Airline” for five years in a row.

China Southern Jet At Daxing

As the largest home carrier of Beijing’s new Daxing Airport,

China Southern Airlines have built Asia’s largest hangar and

operation control centre at the site, as well as the biggest

aviation catering base.

With 40% of the slots of Daxing

Airport, China Southern will also

account for 40% of the air passenger

traffic through Daxing’s International

terminal in the future. According to

its development plan, China Southern

is expected to base more than 200

aircraft here, building Daxing Airport

as its domestic and international hub.

The company was the first to run a

test flight to Daxing and consequently

took the lead by transferring 10% of

flights to Daxing in the winter and

spring seasons of 2019/2020.

Daxing is not only an airport, it is also

a huge “shopping complex” covering

140,000 square metres, offering

office space, restaurants, retail shops,

exhibitions and hotel facilities. In

order to provide the “ultimate travel

and shopping experience”, Daxing

has been signing many well-known

commercial partners. Travellers can

find luxury brands such as Gucci –

even in the domestic area – for the

first time, as well as large numbers of

convenience stores.

CHINA’S BEST SAFETY

RECORD

With a fleet size of more than 860

aircraft, 150 million passengers

have been transported safely with

China Southern Airlines. With this

success, China Southern Airlines

continues to maintain the best civil

aviation safety record in China. In

2019, it was transformed through the

diversification of company stocks.

Through building up new international

partnerships, such as with American

Airlines, British Airways and other

airlines, China Southern is continuing

to grow its base.

China Southern Airlines have been

deepening their digital transformation

by further enhancing their mobile app,

"China Southern Airlines Easy Travel".

Further to this, China Southern has

also launched a number of intelligent

services such as digital boarding,

automatic refund and rebooking via all

digital channels and VR seat selection

to improve the passenger travel

experience

Global

ambitions

for Renfe

The Spanish railway company Renfe is working with

ITB Berlin for the first time this year. Overseen by the

Ministry of Transport of Spain, Renfe is dedicated to

the commercialisation of passenger and freight rail

services.

Renfe has just announced an

agreement with Texas Central

for a €5.5bn high-speed

train project in the US

state. Renfe will collaborate with

the design build consortium

(recently announced the

addition of Salini Impregilio

as lead) and the technology

partners to ensure a

holistic, efficient approach for

the Texas Central Railroad.

Renfe is one of the world’s

most significant railways

operators, running 5,000 trains

daily on 12,000 km of track. As

an operator, Renfe’s work is

focused on providing train

passengers with an excellent

experience – from how they buy

their tickets to safely carrying

them down the tracks.

Meanwhile, in Spain, Renfe

has announced a new season

of operation for its “Wine

Train” and “Canal Train”,

departing from Madrid. The two

thematic trains are the result

of the collaboration between

Renfe and the Provincial Council

of Valladolid, in order to favour

the touristic promotion of the

province of Valladolid.

Renfe also boasts that it leads

the sector ranking of “Most

Responsible Companies

in passenger transport”,

for the second consecutive

year, according to the

Merco Responsibility and

Corporate Governance report

2019

24 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 25



I SPECIAL FEATURE I TRANSPORT I

I SPECIAL FEATURE I TRANSPORT I

We asked Regine Sixt, Senior Executive Vice

President International Marketing, SIXT SE, how

business has been over the past year.

Our worldwide business

operations continue to

outperform our expectations.

We take this as an

encouragement to stick to

our course, work the market

as innovation driver and

consistently implement our

vision of limitless mobility for

our customers.

In Western Europe and in our

largest and most promising

market, the USA, we recently

recorded double-digit sales

growth – which demonstrates

our strong will to grow and to

build a solid groundwork for

the successful future of our

company.

Of course, in terms of

growth, our new Sixt app,

which we launched last year,

deserves special mention

as it has already proven to

be a tremendous success

story. The app has seen

over one million downloads

and registered triple-digit

percent growth rates for

its user numbers. This very

positive response strengthens

our resolve to continue our

investments in the digitisation

of our products and the

expansion of our "ONE"

mobility platform. Through the

integration of digital car rental,

car-sharing and the provision

of ride and taxi services – all

in one app – our customers

now have access to more than

270,000 vehicles and mobility

offers from 1,500 partners with

over 1.5 million drivers in more

than 250 cities worldwide. By

continuously expanding our

premium mobility services

via the app, we are thus well

on the way to becoming one

of the leading international

Regine Sixt

Sixt: business is

booming

Senior Executive Vice

President International

Marketing,

SIXT SE

mobility platforms offering our

customers seamless mobility

– no matter where they are in

the world.

What is your “vision”? What

does Sixt stand for?

Since its foundation more

than a hundred years ago,

Sixt has always understood

people's desire for mobility:

We develop and offer

innovative premium solutions

that meet people's individual

mobility needs. Today, our

company is one of the leading

international providers of

high-quality mobility services.

It is our vision to provide our

customers with individual

and unlimited premium

mobility; anywhere in the

world; whether for minutes,

hours, months or even years...

completely -- without your

own car

THAILAND

AIRPORTS

AIM TO BE

A KEY HUB

FOR ASIA

ADVERTORIAL

Airports of Thailand Plc has

announced a plan to become a

major air transport hub in Asia.

In 2019, AOT welcomed 141 million

passengers and around 896,000 flights, while

providing service for more than 130 airlines,

connecting to 214 destinations around

the world through our six major airports

in Thailand: Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang

International, Phuket International, Chiang

Mai International, Hat Yai International and

Mae Fah Luang - Chiang Rai International

Airport.

The next year will see a milestone for

Suvarnabhumi Airport, as the Midfield

Satellite 1 (SAT1) will be opened for service

in 2021, increasing the airport’s passenger

handling capacity from 45 million to 60

million per year. The project also includes a

4-storey building covering 216,000 square

metres with 28 aircraft parking bays. SAT-

1 connects with the main terminal building

by The Automated People Mover (APM)

that can carry about 3,500 passengers per

hour within 3 minutes. Additionally, AOT is

deploying a new baggage handling system

called “Individual Carrier System” (ICS),

capable of sorting 180 units a minute to

serve passenger demand.

2020 is the year of digital airport

transformation of AOT, which is launching

“AOT Airports Application” offering airport

users real-time information such as flight

check, route navigation, and car park

reservation

Japan Airlines develops

urban air taxi

Japan Airlines is partnering with Bell and Sumitomo

Corporation to explore development of an on-demand

air mobility ecosystem in Japan using Bell’s Nexus

4EX eVTOL air taxi.

eVTOL stands for "electric

Vertical Take-Off and Landing" -

pertaining to a small aircraft that

can take off and land vertically

by rotating multiple electrically

powered rotors. It is attracting

attention as a means of

transport for next-generation

urban transportation combining

drone and electric vehicle

technologies.

On February 11, the companies

announced a memorandum of

understanding to develop policy

Emirates airlines has announced a plan to launch a new daily

service from Dubai (DXB) to Penang International Airport (PEN),

via Singapore (SIN), from 9 April 2020

Emirates’ flight to Penang will be a

linked service with Singapore, allowing

passengers to travel easily between the

two cities.

Penang will become Emirates’ second

destination in Malaysia after its capital,

Kuala Lumpur, which the airline

currently serves with three flights a day

and is a route that has been operating

since 1996. The flight will be operated by

and planning recommendations,

identify entry into service use

cases and pilot programmes,

and develop infrastructure

requirements to enable “mobility

as a service” (MaaS).

“We are excited to take this

substantial step to bring together

an international airline, a major

infrastructure provider, and a

VTOL OEM to work collaboratively

on a more connected mobility

future,” stated Scott Drennan,

Bell’s vice president of innovation.

an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in

a three-class configuration, offering eight

private suites in First Class, 42 lie

flat seats in Business Class and 304

spacious seats in Economy Class.

The new route enables travellers from

the Northern cities of Malaysia to

enjoy convenient onward connections

from Dubai to destinations in Europe,

North America and the Middle East

Nexus 4EX air taxi concept

Japan Airlines, for its part, is

“eager to explore the future of

air travel beyond its existing

framework, and we believe

this is the right team to set the

standard in Japan for future cities

to implement urban air mobility

systems,” stated Tomohiro

Nishihata, Japan Airlines’

managing executive officer of

Innovation.

Bell unveiled its Nexus 4EX air

taxi concept at CES 2020 in

January. It is a four-ducted, fully

electric evolution of the original

six-ducted, hybrid-electric Nexus

revealed last year, now called the

6HX

Emirates reinforces services to

Malaysia with new flights to Penang

AIR TRANSPORT

BRIEFS

SERBIAN AIRPORTS

TAKING OFF

New infrastructure development in

Serbia makes future travelling more

attractive and convenient. In 2019, the

number of air passengers arriving to

Serbia increased significantly. Nikola

Tesla airport in Belgrade recorded

about 6 million passengers in 2019

– almost twice as much as in 2013.

Also, Constantine the Great Airport

in Nis reports an increase in the

number of travellers with 422,255 in

2019 compared to 1,334 back in 2014.

With the construction of the third

international airport Morava near

Kraljevo, also Central Serbia is now very

easily accessible for tourists

TAMPA - NEW AND

GROWING LINKS TO

EUROPE

Tampa International Airport is boasting

multiple non-stops from Europe. Delta

is adding new non-stop seasonal

flights from Amsterdam, Lufthansa is

expanding its service from Frankfurt

to 6 times a week. Other European

options: upgraded flights by British

Airways (daily) and Norwegian Air

(3x/week) from London Gatwick, and

Edelweiss from Zurich (1x/week)

George Town, Penang - new destination of Emirates in Malaysia

© Vesailok

Nikola Tesla Airport, Belgrade, Serbia

26 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 27



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

© Pankaj & Insy Shah

AFRICA &

MIDDLE EAST

TOURISM YEAR 2019:

Shining Middle East and Growing Africa

2019 was a good vintage for Africa and the Middle East. The

whole African continent saw international tourist arrivals

growing by 4.2% last year while the Middle East remained

the fastest growing region with 7.6% more tourist arrivals.

In the past two decades, international

tourist arrivals to Africa and the

Middle East have grown quicker than

the world average. Between 2000

and 2019, world international tourist

arrivals grew by almost 115%, from

680m to 1,461m. However, Africa

saw its tourist arrivals jumping by

172% during the same period of

time from 26.2m to 71.2m while the

Middle East is the top winner with

total international tourist arrivals

skyrocketing by 185%, from 22.4m

to 63.9m.

In 2019, both regions recorded a

deceleration in growth. While tourist

arrivals had grown by 8.2% between

2016 and 2017, peaking even by 8.5%

between 2017 and 2018, last year's

growth was down to 4.2%.

African countries have been reaping

the benefits of policy changes

to open tourism, which is now

considered an important economic

factor. Many African countries, such

as Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya or

Namibia, relaxed visa policies over

the past two years, with simplified

visa-on-arrival procedures.

Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia also

introduced free-visa schemes

for Chinese visitors. It is thus no

coincidence if North Africa recorded

the highest growth rate in the region,

with arrivals jumping by 9.1% last

year after 14.1% in 2017 and 11.1% in

2018. Long established destinations

such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia

have, over the past decade, adopted

open-sky policies, allowing low-cost

airlines from Europe to operate.

By the same token, countries in

the Middle East embarked on

a relaxation of visa regulations,

linked to ambitious plans to turn

their countries into air gateways

for the rest of the world. The UAE --

particularly Dubai -- were the first to

embrace tourism-friendly policies.

This has since been matched by

Bahrein, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and

recently Saudi Arabia. At the end of

last year, the Kingdom announced

new rules for travellers, with e-visa

provided to 49 nations and a relaxed

dress code for travellers. Saudi Arabia

hopes that tourism will contribute to

10% of GDP by 2030

MIDDLE EAST

AFRICA

BRIEFS

8.5% GDP

AND 25 MILLION JOBS:

the contribution of tourism for Africa in

2018 although the market share of the

continent in global international arrivals

reached only 4.9% last year

BETWEEN +4% AND +6%:

This is the estimated growth in international tourist arrivals as

predicted by UNWTO in January for the Middle East in 2020. The

estimation makes once again the region one of the fastest growing in

the world.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 29



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

@ Toppazz

@ Andries Oudshoorn

Dhow Cruise, Khasab, Oman

Oman Mountain road from Nizwa to Wadi Bani Awf

Transport to… and within Oman

Oman possesses a sprawling territory

along the Arabian Sea, which includes

major port cities and villages. A

growing ground transportation

network connects them all, and while

bus services are available, a large

percentage of foreign tourists rent

cars.

Oman’s car ferries connect its many islands

and the enclave of Musandam (in the far north

and surrounded by the UAE) to the rest of the

country. They offer visitors the opportunity to

travel to places such as Diba and Masirah Island

with ease.

Because of its long coastline and fascinating

ports, Oman is a regular stopover point for many

cruise lines. Alternately, many choose to hop on a

picturesque Dhow and visit the coast and Oman's

islands in this way.

When it comes to flying, Muscat International

Airport is the largest in the country. It is the

main access point for most people inside and

outside the country. Modern, vast and recently

renovated, it hosts daily flights from the Gulf, Asia

and Europe, as well as domestic flights, including

those of the Omani national airline, Oman

Air. Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, British Airways,

Emirates and Gulf Air are among the other airlines

offering flights to the Oman. Smaller regional

airports are located in Salalah, Ad Duqm, Sohar

and Ras Al Hadd. For travellers wanting to travel

to Khasab (the largest city in the northernmost

governorate of Musandam), Salalah, or Duqm,

travelling by air is generally preferable to driving,

due to the distance of these cities from Muscat

OMAN AIR DEBUTS ITS FIRST

US CODESHARE FLIGHTS

TO NYC & MIAMI – VIA ITALY

Oman Air has taken a major step forward in its

growth and service, debuting its first codeshare

flights connecting Oman and the USA, which

streamline travel from Muscat to New York and

Miami, via Milan, through its partnership with Air

Italy.

Oman Air operates 10 round-trip flights each

week to Milan’s Malpensa Airport, with daily

service to the Italian city. Air Italy offers daily

round-trip flights from Milan to New York and 6

flights per week from Milan to Miami, all using

Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft.

Additional US destinations, which are expected

to be announced in the coming months, are

anticipated to be added in time for the summer

season.

Abdulaziz Al Raisi, Oman Air CEO commented:

“This is a noteworthy development for Oman Air

and an excellent way to start another strong year

for the Sultanate’s airline. These flights make it

considerably quicker and easier for our guests

to reach these popular US destinations and for

people in these cities to visit Oman.

© T J Darmstadt

“We look forward to welcoming more business

and leisure travellers to the Sultanate and help

our guests rediscover the joys of travelling – in

style to and from these international centres of

trade, tourism and culture”.

Under the initial agreement, which was

established in December, 2019, Air Italy’s “IG”

code was placed on Oman Air’s flights between

Milan Malpensa and Muscat. At the same time

Oman Air put its “WY” code on Air Italy flights

between Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino,

Naples, Cagliari (Sardinia), Palermo and Catania

(Sicily) and Lamezia Terme (Calabria).

OMAN GOES “QUIETLY

AND CLEANLY” TO LONDON

Oman Air has once again been recognised as the

one of the cleanest and quietest airlines serving

London’s Heathrow Airport. Oman Air flies the

B787 Dreamliner to England 3 times a day, with

2 flights to London Heathrow and 1 flight to

Manchester

Oman Air Boeing 787

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 31



ADVERTORIAL

I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

Oman wins “Best Airport in

Middle East” award

Face to face with Aimen Bin Ahmed Al Hosni – CEO – Oman Airports

KEY FACTS

& FIGURES

The total number of passengers travelling

through the Muscat, Salalah, Sohar and

Duqum Airports is 17.7 million in 2019 and

total cargo volume for Muscat & Salalalh

airport is 241.8K Tonnes (2019).

Aimen Bin

Ahmed

Al Hosni

CEO, Oman Airports

MUSCAT AIRPORT

Total Passengers:

3.7% increase

(15.98 million) in 2019

DUQUM AIRPORT

Total Passengers:

13.8% increase

(65,630) in 2019

Over the past months since the opening of its new

terminal, Muscat International Airport has seen a

considerable shift in its transformational approach

aimed at delivering high-level service and travel

experience. We asked Aimen Bin Ahmed Al Hosni –

CEO – Oman Airports to tell us how this has impacted

business.

The terminal opening has

enhanced the airport’s reputation

at an international level. We

have been lauded with multiple

accolades; the most recent

being “Best Airport in the Middle

East 2019” at the 26th edition

of World Travel Awards Middle

East Gala Ceremony 2019, as

well as “World’s Leading Airport

Operator” and “World’s Leading

Airport Website”. Salalah Airport

was awarded Skytrax 5 Star

Regional Award at the Passenger

Terminal Expo in London 2019,

and “Best World’s Leading

Regional Airport 2019” at the

World Travel Awards Gala Finale

Ceremony – Oman 2019.

What development plans do you

have for infrastructure?

Muscat International and

Salalah Airport, alongside the

WITH A MAJORITY

OF OUR AIRLINES

OPENING NEW

ROUTES, THIS

WILL FURTHER

ENHANCE

ARRIVALS INTO

MUSCAT

regional airports, are seeing new

development, with the aim of

making them the new gateways

to the Sultanate of Oman.

Salalah and Muscat International

Airports currently handle 1 million

and 12 million passengers per

annum, respectively. Further

expansions are planned for the

Muscat International airport in

subsequent phases, to boost the

airport’s capacity to 24 / 36 / 48

mppa, respectively.

What are the opportunities for

Oman Airports in 2020?

With a majority of our airlines

opening new routes, this will

further enhance arrivals into

Muscat and will also contribute

to the growth of O&D traffic.

Meanwhile, carriers from the

Indian subcontinent, have also

added frequencies to Muscat.

Furthermore, we aim to invest in

airports outside of Oman, in such

a way as to enhance our offering

by providing management and

advisory services. Last but not

least, we also aim to capitalise

on our human resources and

organise further employment and

training programmes, alongside

the setting up of a training and

development centre. We also

look forward to establishing

relationships with the local

workforce to provide them with

several job opportunities

OMAN

AIRPORTS

CEO TAKES

ROLE AS

DEPUTY CHIEF

OF ACI

The World General Assembly of the

Airports Council International last year

voted to assign Oman Airports’ CEO

to be the Deputy Chief of the ACI: the

1st Arab official to occupy this role. At

its 59th annual meeting in Hong Kong,

the ACI World General Assembly voted

collectively for the Aimen Bin Ahmed Al

Hosni as Vice President for a period of

two years. The achievement was, it was

stated, for his “valuable contributions

and accomplishments in enhancing the

development of airports performance

in Oman, at both administrative and

operational levels”. This assignment

comes in alignment with the distinguished

performance of Oman Airports and

its continuous initiatives as an active

member in ACI World/ Asia-Pacific

committees, regional and global. ACI is a

global organisation that consists of 5 main

Councils, and its headquarter is located in

Montreal, Canada.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 33



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

© Rohan Gautam Photography

Atana Khasab

Culture meets tech in Oman

The Royal Opera House Muscat goes “cashless”

Driving Oman tourism’s

investment, growth and

development

Under the umbrella of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism,

Omran Group seeks to lure more tourists & investors to

the Sultanate

Oman Tourism Development Company SAOC (Omran)

is tasked with driving the investment, growth

and development of the rapidly growing tourism sector

in the Sultanate of Oman.

The company is the master

developer of major tourism,

heritage, urban and mixeduse

projects, delivering some

of nation’s most visionary and

iconic destinations. As the leading

executive government arm for

tourism development, Omran

has a proven track record of

delivering tourism and related

projects to a world-class standard,

due to our core philosophy of

sustainability, transparency and

partnering with renowned regional

and international investors.

Importantly, by working in close

collaboration with the local

communities, as well as the public

and private sector, sustainability

is built into every project. The

company’s portfolio of projects,

asset management expertise and

investment experience embraces

the unique aspects of Oman’s

culture and heritage, while

safeguarding the natural beauty

of the country for the future

generations.

Omran Group is leveraging the

opportunity to promote tourism

investment in Oman as well as

showcasing its hospitality assets to

travel professionals.

Peter Walichnowski, CEO, Omran

Group, said, “Omran Group's

participation is a testament to

Oman's efforts that have been

under way to develop the tourism

sector and taking major strides

towards diversification of the

economy in line with the national

tourism strategy 2040.”

“Through our participation, we

hope to lure more tourists and

investors to come to Oman as we

will be highlighting its charms as a

tourist destination as well as a safe

haven for investors in hospitality

industry as we work hand in hand

with the Ministry of Tourism,” he

added.

Among the hospitality assets

that were set to participate

in the exhibition is the chain

Atana Hotels including the newly

launched Atana Stays, W Muscat,

JW Marriott Muscat, Millennium

Resort Mussanah, InterContinental

Muscat and Alila Jabal Akhdar

Resort.

Zoltan Kali, Senior VP of Omran

Hospitality, said, “Our main focus

would be showcasing Oman’s

outstanding tourism wonders

through our hotels and attractions

that are inspired by authentic

Omani hospitality. It will also be a

great platform to reveal our new

tourism packages which have been

exclusively designed to encourage

the exhibition visitors and business

partners to put Oman and our

hotels and destinations in their

travel wishlist”

OMRAN

GROUP OPENS

OMAN’S FIRST

JW MARRIOTT

JW Marriot Muscat is the latest

addition to Omran Group’s hotel

portfolio which aims to boost the

Sultanate’s MICE offering as well

as play an integral role in attracting

both business and leisure travellers

to Oman. Located in the heart of

Muscat’s new business hub and

designed as a business hotel with

five-star facilities, the hotel is an

integral part of the prestigious OCEC

precinct.

Peter Walichnowski, CEO of Omran

said, “The opening of the JW Marriott

Muscat adds another dimension to

OCEC and the wider Madinat Al Irfan

development which are central to

the Omani government’s strategy to

diversify the national economy.”

JW Marriott Muscat

The Royal Opera House Muscat has

announced it has become a “fully

cashless” venue as its management

aims to provide the “best possible

visitor experience”. Henceforth, no

cash is accepted for any purchase

made within the venue, with only

payments now being accepted by

credit and debit card, gift cards, online,

or by bank cheque.

Royal Opera House Muscat is the leading arts and

culture organisation in the Sultanate of Oman. The

vision of the Opera House is to “serve as a centre of

excellence in global cultural engagement”.

The Royal Opera House Muscat was built in

the early 2000’s on the order of the late Sultan

Qaboos of Oman who had been always a fan of

classical music and arts. It was officially opened

on October 12, 2011, with a production of the

opera Turandot, featuring Spanish tenor Plácido

Domingo. It features unique contemporary

Omani architecture, and can accommodate an

audience of up to 1,100 people. The opera house

complex consists of a concert theatre, auditorium,

formal landscaped gardens, cultural market with

retail, luxury restaurants and an art centre for

musical, theatrical and operatic productions.

In an official statement, the theatre management

claims: “We strive to enrich lives through diverse

artistic, cultural, and educational programmes. The

multidisciplinary work of Royal Opera House Muscat

showcases rich and diverse artistic creations

© Khalid Al Busaidi

Military Music at Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM)

from Oman, the region, and the world; provides a

space for culture and socioeconomic development

reflections and actions; inspires audiences and

nurtures creativity with innovative programs;

fosters cultural vitality and unleashes talent;

promotes cultural tourism; and puts cultural

diplomacy into practice by reinvigorating global and

multi-disciplinary collaborations and exchanges.”

Designed by Carillion Alawi, the initial concept for

the project was drawn up by the British-based

Theatre Projects Consultants, and the architectural

firm chosen to turn the sultan's vision into reality

was Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo. The opera

house was the first in the world equipped with Radio

Marconi's multimedia interactive display seatback

system, Mode23.

OPERA GALLERIA

OPENS AS A LUXURY

SHOPPING DESTINATION

The “Opera Galleria”, Royal Opera House Muscat’s

new flagship shopping destination, is host to highend

shops, international brands, and an array of

international cafés and dining options. It boasts 50

shops offering a “wide range and carefully balanced

mix” of art outlets, gems, fashion and perfumes.

Additionally, a Bank Muscat Branch provides its

banking and financial services to visitors of the

Royal Opera House Muscat...​

34 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 35



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

Omani receptives

stepping out

With Oman as the official Partner Country of ITB Berlin the nation’s

DMCs are virtually “putting their best feet forward”

While for many, Oman is a place of mystery, for its inbound tour operators present at ITB

Berlin, there are no secrets. Here are just a few of the key operators present at the show.

HAND CRAFTED

MICE SOLUTIONS

Oman is a fabulous emerging yet also well-established

MICE destination. Luxury international hotel groups

are very much established catering to all segments of

MICE Business. New Muscat and Salalah Airport has

already been opened and a brand new highly impressive

convention Centre is already winning the interest of

Congress organisers / PCOs. Travco Oman can assist

a travel planner in the organisation of a conference, for

example, in a fort followed by a traditional Omani lunch,

or turn the annual MD’s meeting into a Bedouin style

encounter in the desert

QANTAB TOURISM

Qantab Tourism, which was

established in 2014 was one

of the first tour operators to

offer combined land and sea

tour packages. Highlights

offered by the company include

dolphin watching, snorkelling

at the Daymaniyat Islands, and

traditional Omani dhow cruising.

The company's Omani staff

are fluent in English and have

detailed knowledge of the

country's various regions.

© Qantab Tourism

HASHTAGOMAN

#Oman is a boutique tourism

company based in Muscat,

providing tailor-made Oman

experiences for passionate

travellers and groups, curious

to explore the vast beauty

Oman has to offer. They focus

on the nature, follow remote

paths and “create unforgettable

experiences, always focusing

on the Omani Culture”. Here are

some of their latest day tours:

Muscat City Tour: Muscat is

among the most important

cities on the Sea of Arabia,

having held this status and

position from the 11th century.

Today, the capital area is a

prime example of intelligent

and aesthetic development,

blending ancient and modern.

Nizwa and Jabrin Tour: Nizwa

holds significant historical and

cultural significance to Oman

as the birthplace of Islam in the

sultanate as well as its former

capital. ​

ARYAF JIBREEN

TOURISM

Few things in Oman are more impressive

than the country's rugged mountains,

and the tour operator Aryaf Jibreen

Tourism can help visitors to explore them,

along with other destinations such as the

sandy deserts. On its trips, the company

uncovers centuries-old traditions. There

are crystal-clear wadis where visitors

can swim, wonderful night-time desert

trips with amazing views of the stars,

and much more. The company is keen

to establish long-term partnerships with

tour operators worldwide

AN EXTRAORDINARY

OMANI ADVENTURE

ADVERTORIAL

Discover Oman with Enjoy Oman - Trekking & Adventure Tourism

For those seeking an

extraordinary tour in Oman,

Enjoy Oman has announced, at

ITB Berlin, the “Great crossing

from Oman from the province of

Dhofar (South) to the Musandam

peninsula (North) in three weeks”.

For trekking, hiking, canyoning,

kayaking, whether for a group of

independent travellers, a travel

agency or a project leader, your

clients are in good hands with

Enjoy Oman. The agency is

prepared for all the travellers’

preferences, guiding them on

paths suited to their desires, and

to their level of fitness

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 37



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

@ Chedi Muscat

The spa

Millennium Resort Mussanah

Chedi Muscat - fresh from a

major makeover

Sixteen years after opening as

Oman’s most contemporary new

resort, The Chedi Muscat is emerging

from its most significant upgrade to

date with new suites and rooms with

expansive terraces.

The most grandiose gesture of the upgrade

is the 4-bedroom suite, a room category

demanded by the rising numbers of families and

groups eager for clustered accommodation. A

common living room anchors the suite’s four

twin-bedded rooms. Likewise, the resort now

offers a 2-bedroom suite.

The Chedi Muscat is set within 21 acres of palm

fringed gardens offering 162 guestrooms and

suites, six restaurants and two lounges with

great cuisines and wines of the world as well

as recreation activities that include 3 outdoor

pools, the 370-metre private beach, a spa and a

fully kitted gym.

Beyond the suites, the Chedi has borrowed

space from its gardens for the development of

terraces. Eight of the hotel’s Serai rooms now

sport private, outdoor accommodation, and are

now known as Serai Terrace Rooms. The Deluxe

Club Rooms also gained terraces, resulting in

Deluxe Club Terrace Rooms.

All of the hotel’s 160 rooms boast views of the

water gardens, the Hajar Mountains or the Gulf

of Oman. As part of the refurbishment, the

hotel breathed new life into its grounds with the

introduction of new palm trees.

Outside of the comforts and convenience of

the room, the hotel’s investment in kitchen and

dining equipment serve to further raise the bar

for dining at The Chedi Muscat’s award-winning

restaurants.

“Once again, the hotel feels as contemporary

as a hotel can be,” said Morton Johnston, the

hotel’s general manager.

In the Readers’ Choice Awards announced

recently by Condé Nast Traveler, The Chedi

Muscat was hailed as one of the Top 15 Hotels in

the Middle East, checking in at the no. 8 spot on

the prestigious list.

At the same time the hotel conducted its

own redevelopment, its neighbours ceased

construction of their residential buildings,

leaving the environs to a more fully mature

state of repose

Chedi - the beach at sunset

MILLENNIUM RESORT

MUSSANAH – A

PARADISE FOR LOVERS

OF BEACH SPORTS

Millennium Resort Mussanah was built on the

site of the 2 nd Asian Beach Games in December

2010 and still retains many of the world-class

leisure facilities from that time.

Over the past years, the resort has hosted the

FIFA Asian Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifiers

2011, the inaugural TEDx Muscat IT conference

2011, the Brand Oman Youth Summit Conference

2011 & 2012, the 2014 edition of EFG Sailing

Arabia-The Tour in addition to the 2013 Laser

World Championships sailing event which

attracted 373 of the world’s best sailors, Tours

of Oman 2015, Mussanah Race Week, Oman

Bike Week, 1 st & 2 nd International Dragon Boat for

Oman and Millennium Triathlon 2016… and the

list goes on

© Eihab Travels

EIHAB TRAVELS:

TICKETING, OUTBOUND

AND INBOUND IN OMAN

Eihab Travels claims to be Oman’s leading IATA

accredited agency. Established in 1978, Eihab

Travels has grown from its humble beginnings

to a comprehensive travel solutions provider

over the years. Today, the company offers a

wide range for services in the travel and tourism

industry, supporting an ecosystem of the Oman

tourism industry, whilst providing individuals and

corporates in Oman the best of world services

when it comes to travel, ticketing, holidays and

ancillary services.

Operating three distinct business lines, the

company offers Airline Ticketing, Outbound and

Inbound travel solutions. Each business line

is independently managed by highly trained,

dedicated & motivated professionals to deliver

complete and efficient services

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 39



ADVERTORIAL

I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

Come to us!

Oman's home-grown hotel group

Atana is looking to attract more

visitors to its expanded range of

properties

The hotel and resort group Atana, whose name

translates to "come to us", is aiming to offer visitors

a slice of Omani heritage at a time when the country's

tourist industry is enjoying a big surge in popularity.

Atana has four hotel / resorts - Atana Khasa, Atana Musandam, Atana Stay

Al Ashkara and Atana Stay Salalah. The last two properties relaunched

under the Atana name last year after extensive refurbishment and in

doing so added a total of 100 rooms to the company's tally. Here, we take

a look at the four resorts that Atana operates

ATANA

MUSANDAM

ATANA STAY AL ASHKARA

Here, visitors can sit back,

laze around and soak up the

cool beachfront breeze. They

can chat with local fishermen,

have coffee with the village

shopkeeper and find out more

about the art of sailing dhows.

Guests can also enjoy endless

sandy beaches, gently lapping

waves and light breezes

blowing off the Indian Ocean.

Located in Ash Sharqiyah,

ATANA STAY

SALALAH

ATANA STAY

AL ASHKARA

where the Wahiba Sands meet

the Indian Ocean, the hotel is

in an area that is blessed with

a pleasant microclimate of

mild temperatures, while the

pristine beach is the perfect

place to rest. Al Ashkara is 110

minutes’ drive from the Ras

Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, and a

4-hour cruise from Muscat,

most of it a scenic coastal

journey.

ATANA MUSANDAM

Located at the northern tip

of the Musandam peninsula

bordering the United Arab

Emirates, the Atana Musandam

resort is inspired by a typical

Omani village. It is made up

of nine clusters of low-rise

buildings, with the majority of

them providing private parking

at the guests' doorstep. Each of

the 105 well-appointed rooms,

duplexes and suites features a

private balcony/and or terrace

and a view of the waterway

where visitors can witness the

daily routine of the fishermen or

enjoy the stillness of the sea and

the grandeur of the surrounding

mountains.

This three-star property is

aimed at families and "young

at heart" tourists who are

looking for fun and adventure.

It reopened in July 2019 after

an extensive refurbishment

that transformed the look of

the hotel, which is in an area

ATANA STAY SALALAH

known for its lush summer

climate. Atana Stay Salalah

offers what is described

as "a cool, casual vibe with

contemporary pops of colour

and style". The hotel is

excellently situated for visiting

the area's natural attractions

ATANA KHASAB

ATANA KHASAB

Perched on a rock face

offering panoramic views of

the spectacular Musandam

shoreline, one of the best spots in

the Sultanate, Atana Khasab is a

four-star resort reflects the spirit

of the country and features stateof-the-art

facilities and services.

This boutique style hotel offers

60 rooms and suites, which have

either a sea or mountain view.

Activities available in Khasab

include dhow cruises, dolphin

watching and mountain safaris.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 41



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

Towards “Sharjah Vision 2021”

Al Noor Island - Butterfly paradise

The Emirate aims for increased sustainability in its tourism destinations

Ahmed Al Qaseer

COO, Sharjah Investment

and Development Authority

(Shurooq)

SHUROOQ’S

URBAN

REGENERATION

PROJECTS

ARE STRIKING

A BALANCE

BETWEEN THE

TRADITIONAL

AND THE

MODERN.

From luxury retreats to refurbished

historical buildings, Sharjah Investment

and Development Authority (Shurooq)

is developing a range of sustainable

tourism projects in the UAE. We asked

Ahmed Al Qaseer, Shurooq's COO to

tell us more about hosw tourism is

developing in the Emirate.

Tourism investment in Sharjah is growing,

especially in the cultural and eco-tourism sectors.

With its focus on responsible tourism, Shurooq

has entered the market with a diversified portfolio

of tourism and leisure projects that demonstrate

the potential of ecotourism to protect natural and

cultural heritage.

These projects are in line with our mission

to contribute to the “Sharjah Vision 2021”,

launched by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism

Development Authority (SCTDA), to attract 10

million tourists to Sharjah by 2021.

Shurooq deeply understands the value of cultural

tourism. By remaining faithful to the emirate’s

traditional historical identity, Shurooq’s urban

regeneration projects are striking

a balance between the traditional

and the modern.

Historical blueprints are driving

changes in its Heart of Sharjah

project; in Mleiha archaeological

heritage and eco-tourism potential

combine to give Al Faya Retreat

a distinctive edge. Principles of

conservation and sustainability

are clearly the cultural catalysts

underpinning these projects.

We are committed to developing

world-class tourist projects by

improving investment opportunities

with the aim of achieving social,

cultural, environmental and

economic development. This

includes revitalising destinations

by offering a variety of activities, facilities and

services for visitors and the local community, as

well as developing and protecting the culture of

the emirate to create strong foundations for future

growth.

What are your key offerings?

Through its world-class

offerings under the “Sharjah

Collection” brand, Shurooq is

at the forefront of eco-tourism

in the region.

At Al Kalba, where the

Kingfisher Retreat is located,

Shurooq in collaboration

with the Environment and

Protected Areas Authority in

Sharjah has created education

centers to offer environmental

awareness programs and

to explore ways to preserve

the natural environment so

that future generations can

continue to enjoy one of the

oldest mangroves in the Middle

East.

Al Faya Retreat, a luxury

property, has been developed

using materials that drive home

the ethos of sustainability.

Al Badayer Retreat, set in the

heart of a tranquil desert, has

been widely commended for

delivering a true experience

of Arabian heritage and

hospitality.

The heart of Sharjah is

an historical and cultural

hospitality destination that

offers visitors the opportunity

to stay in an area that tells the

original story of the Emirate

of Sharjah through the narrow

alleyways and restored

buildings.

Nestled in this historical

district is Al Bait Sharjah, also

developed by Shurooq, that

is raising the bar for luxury

hotel accommodation. A 53-

room Emirati luxury resort, it

is the UAE’s first 5-star luxury

hotel built and developed on

a restored early 19th-century

heritage site.

WITH THE

EMIRATE'S

CONTINUOUS

DEVELOPMENT,

IT IS VITAL

TO PRESERVE

OUR HERITAGE

FOR FUTURE

GENERATIONS.

Sustainability is at the heart

of your offering. Why is it

important?

With the emirate's continuous

development, it is vital to

preserve our heritage for future

generations. We have to find

the right balance between

promoting the social and

economic development of

Sharjah and maintaining our

rich heritage and protecting our

natural resources.

As responsible travel gathers

momentum, and we see a

greater appreciation of the

natural world, both travellers

and the tourism industry are

becoming more conscious of

their carbon footprint. In 2020,

we will continue to see the rise

of the eco-conscious traveller

who prefers off-the-beatentrack

experiences to the usual

tourist hotspots to reconnect

with nature

ARCHAEOLOGY MEETS

ECO-TOURISM

For thrill seekers and natural history

buffs, Shurooq is developing the

Mleiha Archaeological and Ecotourism

project to offer diverse

adventure options and educational

programs. Surrounded by towering

sand dunes and the red-hued, ironrich

Hajar Mountains, the magic

of camping under the stars and

stargazing in the dunes awaits guests

at this archaeological and cultural

MINDFUL TRAVEL

According to Ahmed Al Qaseer,

Shurooq's COO, slow travel and mindful

tourism are upcoming trends for the

luxury traveler. He says that guests are

immersing themselves in the beauty

and splendour of their handpicked

hospitality destination, while looking

for meaningful connections that enrich

their lives. They are said to prefer to

travel in new and unexpected ways.

heritage site. According to Ahmed

Al Qaseer, Shurooq's COO, ethical

and sustainable accommodation,

be it luxurious, boutique-style

or "glamping", are the preferred

choices of the eco-traveller. With

visitors becoming more conscious of

vacationing responsibly, sustainability

and green credentials feature highly in

their choice of stay

Paddle boarding in Sharjah

Al Qaseer also says that travellers are

eschewing the traditional all-inclusive

holiday resort to travel to destinations

renowned for their natural beauty. This

trend toward eco-tourism supports

the preservation of these natural

environments as governments adopt

sustainable conservation practices

that care for and respect nature

42 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 43



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

Abu Dhabi aims to prevent

unfair competition for hotels

Accor boosts

presence in Africa

and Middle East

Abu Dhabi Skyline

Abu Dhabi is introducing new

rules on the licensing of shortterm

rentals to help maintain

standards and prevent unfair

competition.

All properties available on Airbnbtype

online platforms will now have to

be licensed, must meet Abu Dhabi's

quality standards and will have to pay a

6% tax to the tourist authorities.

The new rules are designed to create

a level playing field between hotels

and short-term lets, preventing the

latter from enjoying what has been

described as an unfair advantage.

The Department of Culture and

Tourism (DCT) - Abu Dhabi is bringing

in the rules following a decision by

the Executive Council of the Emirate

of Abu Dhabi.

“This resolution provides additional

support to the sustainable ecosystem

in the tourism sector, and helps

enhance economic diversification in

Abu Dhabi,” said Saood Al Hosani,

Acting Undersecretary of DCT - Abu

Dhabi.

He claims the new regulations

"ensure fair competition and

equal opportunities" between

establishments.

“The regulations will enable us to

register all these units in one system,

while providing a database for all

licensed vacation homes in Abu Dhabi,”

said Al Hosani, adding, “We believe that

this will help in attracting a diverse

segment of visitors to the emirate,

and will enable owners of unique and

attractive accommodation offerings to

market their units.”

Additional reasons why the new rules

are being brought in are pressure on the

emirate's housing stock and concerns

from residential communities about the

growth of short-term lets in their areas.

Units that are unlicensed or that fail to

meet minimum quality standards risk

fines

Hon. Najib

Balala EGH,

Cabinet Secretary for

Tourism & Wildlife, Kenya

Conservation and

sustainability at heart

of Kenya's offering

New Raffles Seychelles - one of the top properties

on the list for Accor's new South Africa office

The Accor group has announced a

strengthening of its presence in the

Africa / Middle East market, thanks to

the arrival of a new sales team from

1 March 2020 at its recently opened

South African office in Johannesburg.

With 297 hotels across MEA, Roxanne Macgregor

has been named Key Account Manager, South

Africa - Global Sales Office, Middle East & Africa,

leading the team.

Kenyan tourism in 2019 saw improvement

both in terms of the number of tourist arrivals

in the country and also the revenue the country

received. We asked the Hon. Najib Balala EGH -

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife - Kenya

to tell us a little more.

The number of tourists grew by

1.167% from the previous year

while revenues increased by

about 4% which was significant

improvement.

The tourists came in for

different reasons but key

among them was for leisure

purposes. The destination

is rich in leisure products

including a beautiful landscape,

nice weather and wildlife and

it is therefore no surprise

that most people prefer the

destination to spend their

holidays.

What are your key themes at

the moment?

Conservation and

sustainability. The world

is increasingly embracing

sustainability in business.

Kenya’s tourism sector, a major

contributor to the economy

of the country, is focusing

and identifying viable ways of

making the tourism business

sustainable.

Beach cleaning programmes

and regulating beach

activities aim to improve on

the beach product, one of the

key products that Kenya is

known for. Already, hotels and

government agencies have

continuous beach cleaning

exercises to make the beach

more welcoming for water

sports.

Major threats to wildlife

include habitat destruction /

degradation / fragmentation,

overexploitation, poaching,

pollution and climate change.

The National Wildlife Strategy

2030 highlights Sustainability

and Governance as one of

the key pillars of focus. This

is to ensure the coordination,

effective implementation

and sustainability of wildlife

conservation in Kenya.

How is tourism infrastructure

evolving in Kenya? What’s

new?

Kenya has made great

milestones in terms of

sustainable infrastructural

development, such as the

construction of the Standard

Gauge Railway and major roads

and airports. There is already

an expansion plan for the

Jomo Kenyatta International

Airport which is the main

entry point to the country.

Improved transport means

that more destinations will be

more opened up and this goes

a long way in growing not only

the popular but also the less

explored destinations within

the country

“The main focus is to develop South Africa as an

emitting market ensuring a maximum contribution

in regional and outbound flows, maximising

the business to Accor’s regional hotels and the

international network, whilst aligning to Accor’s

global strategy for Sales & Marketing across the

Corporate, MICE and Leisure segments,” said Ms

Macgregor.

This new Sales office in Johannesburg will be giving

a great visibility to the wide spread of Accor brands,

including being the “Mantis Brand champion” within

the Accor Global Sales Offices. The Sales Team

will look after both outbound and inbound sales

although majority of business will be outbound

regionally & internationally across all Accor brands

for all market segments

ACCOR MEA

FOOTPRINT:

Total properties present

in Middle East & Africa:

297 hotels with 64,302 rooms

Total properties in Africa:

165 hotels with 26,207 rooms

Pipeline Middle East & Africa:

71 hotels with 21,871 rooms

Pipeline Africa:

60 hotels with 12,465 rooms

44 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 45



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

© Tobias Alt

A new journey

for SA tourism

South African Tourism launches

broad domestic brand campaign

Grand Anse, Island of La Digue, Seychelles

Seychelles

on target for

2023 master

plan

The Seychelles are riding high thanks to increased air

connectivity over the past year, continuing on the way to

the island government’s tourism master plan for 2023.

Seychelles Tourism Minister, Didier

Dogley, says he is satisfied with the

performance of his nation in terms

of tourism over the past year, with

turnover of €525m in 2019. Mr

Dogley said the Tourism Master

Plan – Destination 2023 launched

in 2019 provides the guideline

to safeguard the destination’s

brand and image as an upmarket,

selective and pristine tourism

destination.

The island state is a living museum

of natural history and a sanctuary

for some of the rarest species of

flora & fauna on earth. With almost

50% of its limited landmass

set aside as national parks and

reserves, Seychelles prides itself

on its record for far-sighted

conservation policies that have

resulted in an enviable degree of

protection for the environment and

the varied ecosystems it supports.

Seychelles is also home to two

UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Aldabra, the world’s largest raised

coral atoll and Praslin’s Vallée

de Mai, once believed to be the

original site of the Garden of Eden.

From the smallest frog to the

heaviest land tortoise and the only

flightless bird of the Indian Ocean,

Seychelles nurtures an amazing

array of endemic species within

surrounds of exceptional natural

beauty

In what it describes as “a bold and emotive first step in its

global brand journey”, SA Tourism has launched the first

phase of its new brand campaign with a ninety second

advertisement.

SA Tourism has been developing

its strategy to achieve the arrivals

targets announced by President Cyril

Ramaphosa at SONA 2019 through

a combination of creating demand

for tourist travel to and within

South Africa and simultaneously

influencing the removal of barriers to

travel to South Africa.

“It was important for us to start this

brand journey by firstly reminding

South Africans of who we are, of

creating conversation and of reinvigorating

the national psyche. At

the same time, we have created this

initial work to be true to our essence

and identity so as to connect with

international and domestic audiences

based on what they have been telling

us through their experiences of our

country and through our insights and

analysis, said SA Tourism CEO, Sisa

Ntshona.

“SA Tourism is of the firm belief that

advertising alone will not solve our

challenges or create sufficient travel

to South Africa,” continued Ntshona,

adding it would instead require the

Elephants in Umfolozi Big Five Reserve, KwaZulu Natal

“mobilisation of all South Africans to

drive the country’s tourism efforts,

inspired by bold and integrated

communication that awakens all of

us towards action, by travelling our

country.”

The advertisement, produced with

the support of the Tourism Business

Council of South Africa (TBCSA),

will be on rotation for the next three

months on TV and digital platforms

in South Africa. It features images of

everyday South Africans, narrated by

an emotive script that delves into the

diverse, colourful and textured nature

of who we are as South Africans and

is accompanied by an inspirational,

home-composed soundtrack.

“It is the first in a series of

communications in the brand reawakening

journey designed to call

South Africa to collective action. It is

our way of starting the decade boldly

and with a strong focus on inspiring

South Africans as an integral part

of delivering the tourism brand

promise,” concluded Ntshona

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 47



I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

ADVERTORIAL

I REGION I AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST I

Cultural fascination

in Durban

Where ancestral Zulu traditions dwell alongside

iconic legends that shaped our modern world

IMPORTANT DATES

June 7, 1893

Mohandas (later known

as Mahatma) Gandhi

was pushed out of an

“all-white” first class train

carriage in South Africa,

sparking his quest to end

discrimination

August 5, 1962

Mandela is arrested in

Durban

Sandy Bay Ridges - St Helena

St Helena

The South African city of Durban is unique in its blend of cultural attractions; on

the one hand being the star city of KwaZulu Natal – the heart of Zululand, and on

the other being the place where highly important episodes of modern history took

place, centred on legends such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. For many

visitors to Durban, these cultural visits are truly transformational.

April 27, 1994

The now free Mandela

votes in first non-racial

elections – at birthplace of

the ANC

The South Atlantic’s best kept secret

St Helena’s tourism authority promotes concept

of “losing yourself in St Helena”

Paul Mikula, Phansi Museum founder

PHANSI: WHERE THE

ANCESTRAL SPIRITS

DWELL…

In IsiZulu, phansi means “below” – the place

beneath us where the ancestral spirits dwell.

While appearing small from the outside, the

Phansi Museum in Durban is a veritable cultural

beacon, occupying three floors of one of the few

domestic national historic monuments in the

city. The museum houses some of the finest

examples of African Ubuntu artworks dating

back to the mid 19 th Century. Tours are led by a

team of spirited guides who are familiar with the

many traditions and objects on display, headed

by the impassioned and animated museum

founder, Paul Mikula.

“Anyone visiting this place comes away feeling

different,” explains Mikula. “There was never a

term for ‘art’ in Africa. It’s just something people

did. They wanted things to be beautiful. They

loved the patterns of the sky and the trees and

the animals, and they had respect for them. As

the tree was also alive, it would suggest to the

sculptor the shape it wanted to give up. The

beauty would also stem from the simplicity of

the work.”

In 1994, Nelson Mandela cast his vote in

South Africa's first democratic elections

HERITAGE ROUTE:

IN THE FOOTSTEPS

OF GANDHI, DUBE

AND MANDELA

The Inanda Heritage Route features the

home base of Mahatma Gandhi before his

return to India. Living in South Africa for

over 20 years, Gandhi developed his political

and ethical views at the Phoenix settlement,

which he established in 1904. His house has

recently been restored thanks to a grant

from the Indian Government, seen today as

a “beacon of reconciliation and peace”.

To the west of Durban, the Nelson Mandela

Capture Site at Howick, where Madiba was

arrested in 1961, features the Apartheid

Museum. In 1994, it was in Durban that

Nelson Mandela cast his vote in South

Africa's first democratic elections at the

Ohlange Secondary School now known as

Ohlange Institute. Fitting, given that the

first president of what was to become the

African National Congress, Dr John L. Dube,

established this school in 1901. Dube is

buried on a plot on the property.

Traditional Zulu dancers at PheZulu Safari Park

PHEZULU SAFARI PARK

INTRODUCES NEW

SEGWAY TOURS AND

WELCOME CENTRE

A 25-year-old business, the PheZulu Safari Park

and Reptile Park is the largest privately-owned

tourist destination in the Durban area. Over the

past year, the park has introduced Segway tours,

hosting up to five guests at a time. An old thatched

welcome centre which burned down having been

hit by lightning in 2018 has been replaced with a

larger, more modern building, housing a scenic

restaurant – overlooking the famed 1,000 hills

and souvenir store.

At PheZulu village, the world famous Gasa clan

allows visitors the opportunity to savour the taste

and feel the rhythm of Africa. After a traditional

Zulu dance show, visitors are taken into traditional

beehive shaped thatched huts, where the various

artefacts, beliefs and rituals are explained.

PheZulu Safari Park General Manager Tristan

Dickerson explains, “If someone is here in Durban

for culture, they don’t have to drive far. It’s just a

half an hour’s drive for people to come here and

see the Zulu dance and cultural show, then they

can head down to see the Phoenix settlement and

the Inanda institute”

“A Character decidedly British” is how Darwin described St

Helena nearly 200 years ago. Rolling luscious landscapes

dotted with little cottages on serene mountain tops and

tucked away valleys. A scene not too dissimilar to the

modern-day St Helena.

With its uniquely rich diversity of

heritage-based attractions, both built

and natural, St Helena offers many

things to see and lots to do — from

visiting Jamestown, with its authentic

Georgian architecture, to the rugged

coastline, from the rolling hills to the

stark yet striking geology at Sandy

Bay.

St Helena is home to a strongly varied

heritage and nature, breath-taking

views from the highest peaks, inviting

waters, and 100% quaintness. The

island beckons visitors to a “true

discovery”.

Nestled in a sub-tropical ocean

wilderness, St Helena is an escape to

peace and tranquillity.

Nature lovers are drawn to the

rustic charm and promise of rugged

adventure and safe retreat.

Undisturbed by all but a fragment

of human endeavour, the Island’s

modest dimensions provide an

exceptional diverse range of habitats

and features of geological interest.

These natural assets host an

impressive 2900+ species.

Airlink jet @ St Helena

SANDY BAY RIDGES -

ST HELENA

A third of Britain’s overseas

territories endemic species have

been registered here. Thriving on

the panoramic central ridgeway

that rises 823 meters to the highest

summit, the delicate blushing snail

and spikey yellow woodlouse convene

on the thick foliage of local tree ferns,

gumwood, cabbage and scrubwood

varieties. A scratch on the surface of

what makes this island truly unique.

A place of fascinating heritage with

a significant legacy of converging

and emerging culture is now paving

its way to being a globally connected

green and blue destination.

St Helena’s journey to vibrant

sustainable tourism and a digitally

driven economy is taking shape.

In 2021 the arrival of the subsea

fibre optic cable will create more

possibilities for both local business

growth and foreign investment.

CONNECTIVITY

Getting to St Helena is part of the

attraction; it is an adventure all in

itself. A new and improved commercial

flight service now connects adventure

seekers, history buffs, nature lovers

and marine enthusiasts to one of the

remotest and best kept secrets of

the world. Summer mid-week flights

from Cape Town to St Helena will

supplement the weekly Johannesburg

flight allowing twinning destination

opportunities. Airlink operates a direct

weekly service between St Helena

and Johannesburg (via a refuelling

stopover at Walvis Bay International

Airport in Namibia).

For those who prefer the wind in their

hair and the sea spray on their face,

St Helena also welcomes visiting

yachts. With a growing interest by

“yachties” for safe havens in new and

unspoilt destinations, St Helena is

conveniently positioned in the middle

of the Atlantic between West Africa

and South America. A warm welcome

awaits the visiting sailor ashore

in Jamestown, the island’s main

settlement and only harbour called

James Bay, which now benefits from

a new field of robust soft mooring

buoys.

CRUISING

Cruising on St Helena dates back to

Union Castle days, and since then

has remained relatively small-scale,

but the assets of this destination as

a stop-over point are unquestionable,

and interest is growing rapidly.

It is a perfect midway port on cruises

between Cape Town or Walvis Bay, the

Falkland Islands and South America

and the Caribbean. The cruise season

starts from October and ends in

April

48 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020 • 49



WHERE

TO GO IN

BERLIN

© Thomas Keller

RESTAURANTS

New chef for Brechts Steakhaus

Brechts Steakhaus, with its focus on

steaks and Austro-German cuisine

was Bertold Brecht’s favourite

restaurant

Today, Brechts Steakhaus has a new

chef: Christoph Ganzert, a 33 years

old "meat expert", who spoils guests

with a selection of dishes, including

Irish pasture beef, 100% fed with

grass. "My main focus is to use fresh

produce", he says. Steak lovers love

the dry-aged-meat which matures

CULTURAL ENTERTAINMENT & SHOPPING

KaDeWe

Founded in 1907, the KaDeWe is

one of the world’s most renowned

department stores. Its fine and

distinct feel for emerging trends,

and the selection of products

and services offered, have been

instrumental in shaping the KaDeWe

image. KaDeWe provides Personal

Shoppers who accompany, serve

and expertly advise the customers

throughout a visit, a professional

shipping service completes the

convenient shopping experience.

Shoppers with a permanent

residence outside the EU have the

in a visible display at the Steakhaus.

The menu includes barbecue

classics such as Tomahawk Dry

Age, Double Flank, Spare Ribs and

the popular burgers with homemade

sauces. The restaurant can

be reached in only a few minutes by

foot from Friedrichstrasse station.

Special offer during ITB Berlin: 3

course meal starting from €34,50

per person.

Open daily: 12 noon - 1 am

Brechts Steakhaus

Schiffbauerdamm 7

10117 Berlin

Tel: +49 (0)30 2757 2037

www.brechts.de

Metro:

S & U Friedrichstrasse

possibility of receiving a tax-free

shopping at each cash desk and

immediate cash back at the Global

Blue Counter.

Shoppers can now enjoy their

evenings on the sixth floor at the

champagne and wine bar or at one of

the three new restaurants open until

midnight.

Opening Hours: Mo-Th: 10 am - 8 pm,

Fri: 10 am - 9 pm, Sat 9:30 am - 8 pm

Restaurants open Mo-Sa: 12 pm-12 am

KaDeWe

Kaufhaus des Westens

Tauentzienstrasse 21-24,

10789 Berlin

Metro: U Wittenbergplatz

U1 U2 U3

RESTAURANT

The Entrecôte

The Entrecôte is a restaurant and

brasserie right in the heart of Berlin, reflecting the spirit of Paris. While

the “brasserie lifestyle spirit” can normally only be found in Paris, loved

by many poets, writers and artists, The Entrecôte has brought this esprit

to life in Berlin.

You will find in their great offer of typically French cuisine, dishes such

as saumon fumé, escargots, foie gras, huitres fines de Claires. Entrecôte

has maintained its independence, and has not copied the interiors of its

Parisian cousins. There is no fake Art Deco here, the visitor is perfectly

aware of being in Berlin. The modern and elegant but very comfortable

interior is a priority of the management. This does not in the least impair

the lifestyle, quite the opposite.This is what makes the Entrecôte so real.

Monday to Friday from 11:30 am to midnight;

Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 pm to midnight

RESTAURANT

Ganymed

Brasserie

French cuisine kissed

German cuisine with regional

products at the Ganymed

Brasserie. Gourmets and

fans of French cuisine are

pampered with the highest culinary standards, and a special

new menu prepared for ITB attendees. In former times, the

playwright Bert Brecht and actress Helene Weigel stopped here

to enjoy the cooking and the authentic Parisian atmosphere. The

dishes are prepared with fresh regional products and special

French delicacies; the waiters celebrate flambéing, carving and

filleting in front of the guests. Come back a little later in the year,

when on hot days and warm summer nights, spending time on

the Spree Terrace is a memorable experience in itself.

Open daily: 12 noon - 1 am

Ganymed Brasserie

Schiffbauerdamm - 510117 Berlin Mitte

Tel: +49 (0)30 28 59 90 46

www.ganymed-brasserie.de

Metro: S & U Friedrichstrasse

Entrecôte Gaststätten GmbH

Schützenstraße 5,

10117 Berlin Mitte/

Am Checkpoint Charlie

Tel: +49 30 20 16 54 96

info@entrecote.de

Metro: U Kochstrasse U6

50 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 12 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com



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