HOTEL&TOURISM SMARTreport #46

cleverdis

THE PROFESSIONAL BUYERS’ REFERENCE

SMARTreport

ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

#07 / UNTOURISTED AND

UNEXPECTED

WHERE WILL ELITE TRAVELLERS GO

"POST COVID-19"?

SPOTLIGHT ON

MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

#17 / TOWARDS A NEW DYNAMIC

- TOURISM SET FOR LONG TERM

GROWTH

INNOVATIONS

& TECHNOLOGIES

#29 / CONTACTLESS -

A SOLUTION FOR SOCIAL

DISTANCING

I AM LOOKING

AT 10 OR EVEN

20 YEARS INTO

THE FUTURE

Hon. Najib Balala EGH

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism

& Wildlife, Kenya

#46 - 2020 SPRING EDITION / A CLEVERDIS PUBLICATION



Richard Barnes

Editor-in-chief

richard.barnes@cleverdis.com

Tel: +33 (0) 4 42 77 46 00

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 3

3

FOREWORD

2020 GLOBAL TOURISM RESET

The global health and financial crisis is

paying a particularly heavy toll on the

tourism industry. But where is it leading

us, and what will change as a result of the

crisis?

As they say “in any crisis lies opportunity”,

so what will be the opportunities after

this one? One of the industry’s biggest

bugbears – overtourism – is suddenly no

longer a problem. Distribution is another

question, in which hotel operators and

OTAs are finding themselves at loggerheads

about how this situation should have been

handled.

In the months and years “post Covid-19”,

it will be very much as if we have pressed

a giant “reset” button. The industry will

need to trace a new roadmap, and will

need unprecedented thought leadership in

order to do so.

As borders re-open, people will want to

get back out into the world. Due to the

financial crunch, the first to do so will be

those in upper income brackets, again

benefitting the luxury travel market. For

this reason, we believe the “elite” of travel

advisors such as those of Virtuoso and the

Signature Travel Network, will be the first

to be fully back in business.

In this edition, we keep a positive spin on the

future, while not ignoring the challenges.

We wish all those in the industry courage

and foresight for the coming months; but

most importantly, take care – and stay safe

and healthy.

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Publisher: Gérard Lefebvre

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Managing Director: Jean-François Pieri

Editor-in-Chief: Richard Barnes

Art Director: Hélène Beunat

CONTENTS

4 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW 17 MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

With the participation of: Bettina Badon,

Benjamin Klene, Jasdeep Singh.

>>To contact them: first name.last name@cleverdis.com

Printing: Pure Impression, Mauguio, France

Hon. Najib

Balala EGH

Cabinet Secretary for

Tourism & Wildlife,

Kenya

A NEW

DYNAMIC

IN 2019

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7 ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS 29 INNOVATIONS

& TECHNOLOGIES

TRENDS

FOR 2020

TECHNOLOGY

IN THE POST

COVID-19

WORLD


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

KENYA… AND AFRICA:

A VISION FOR THE NATION,

AND THE CONTINENT

Keynote interview: Hon. Najib Balala EGH -

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife - Kenya

In 2018, Kenya experienced

37% growth in inbound tourist

numbers, and 32% growth in

revenue, and for 2019, the growth

should be in the order of 10%, as

numbers have been consolidating.

We asked Najib Balala what is his

vision to move this forward.

We have a clear strategy – on four pillars.

One is investment, second is infrastructure,

third is marketing – moving to digital, and

fourth is product development. We no

longer want to sell “animals”. We want to

sell the experience of a wildlife safari. We

have been investing heavily on the digital

platform. We are also putting efforts into

being present at major trade events. These

are essential for contacts and networking.

By 2030, we plan to have five-million

arrivals in Kenya.

Hon. Najib Balala EGH

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism

& Wildlife, Kenya

It’s interesting to see someone in your

position with such a long-term vision.

Many political figures only see as far as

the next three or four years.

Definitely, any policies we implement in

this field must have a longer-term goal

than the tenure of the individual who has

penned them. The key is that if we do not

have a long-term vision, we will not invest

sufficiently in infrastructure, we would

not have a clear plan of how to achieve

those goals. I am looking at 10 or even 20

years into the future, even though many

of the enablers are dynamically changing


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 5

5

© Kenya Tourism Board

© Kenya Tourism Board

every day: technology, for example. But

as things change in the world, we need

to adapt. Today, if you don’t go digital,

you are out. If you are not innovative, you

are out. These are the kind of things that

we adopt as we progress and grow in the

tourism sector.

What are the biggest challenges?

For us, the biggest challenge is security. We

are also heavily investing in infrastructure.

Of course, overall government priorities

include such things as healthcare and

education. So, tourism will not come

as a priority per se, even if it generates

revenues. For us, it generates 12% of

GDP. So funding is a challenge. In the past

two years, I managed to address those

issues by charging a $10 departure tax.

I believe we will receive up to $30-million

every year guaranteed. This is money

available for marketing.

How is the development of multidestination,

or multi-nation tourism

progressing?

Indeed, we cannot be an “island” among

the other African countries. That is why

I am promoting “Brand Africa”, as the

whole brand of the continent of Africa

must be positive. We can then move

from the promotion of Brand Africa to

the specific experience of a destination.

Africa is a diverse continent with diverse

products, and they are not necessarily

the same. If the beach is the same, the

people are not the same; the cultures are

not the same; the experience is not the

same; the area or the environment is not

the same. This is why we say, “Come and

see Africa, and see the diversity across

the continent”. Yes, we need Uganda to

grow, we need Tanzania to have the right

infrastructure. We need the entire region

of Africa to have the right stability for us

to benefit from that global image of the

continent of Africa.

WE CANNOT

BE AN “ISLAND”

AMONG THE OTHERS.

THAT IS WHY I AM

PROMOTING “BRAND

AFRICA”, AS THE

WHOLE BRAND OF

THE CONTINENT OF

AFRICA MUST BE

POSITIVE.

What kind of tourists are you looking

for?

Our tourism in Kenya is nature-based

tourism: safaris, and then the beaches.

We are very clear about the numbers

we are seeking and what our carrying

capacity is. That said, I don’t believe

overtourism is a real problem in the world.

I believe lack of proper management is

the problem. If we start condemning

overtourism, it is tantamount to killing

peoples’ economies, because tourism

is essential to their economy. Countries

need to better understand how to

manage seasonality, and to manage the

attractions, diversifying more. In all of

Africa, we only have 67 million tourists.

Spain has 82 million tourists. But our

tourism, as I mentioned, is nature-based.

The ecological situation is sensitive, so we

need to manage our numbers.

How do you work with the UNWTO?

I am currently the Chairman of the

executive council, and I was the Chairman

of the Council of Ministers of Africa.

Our strategy is very clear, we want to

develop Brand Africa, so that we can

change the narrative. The narrative right

now is negative and not encouraging. So,

we want to work with the media, with

tour operators, with governments, to

make sure there is real security. We will

approach governments to ensure there

is connectivity in Africa. We also want

to partner with governments in Africa to

create the proper infrastructure to allow

tourism to grow. These are the things we

have proposed and we hope to engage

very soon. The UNWTO Secretary-General

has already allocated $500,000 to the

development of Brand Africa, and these

are the kinds of propositions that are on

the table


ONE WORLD.

ONE INDUSTRY.

ONE DAILY.

INDIA

The Official Information Source

The Official Information Source

The Official Information Sources at

ITB-BERLIN-NEWS.COM

ITB-ASIA-NEWS.COM

ITB-CHINA-NEWS.COM

ITB-INDIA-NEWS.COM

ITB-BERLIN.COM

ITB-ASIA.COM

ITB-CHINA.COM

ITB-INDIA.COM


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 7

7

TRENDS FOR 2020

While all sectors of the travel industry have taken

a major blow from the Covid-19 crisis, many are

predicting that the ultra-luxury travel sector will be

quick to bounce back, as these travellers with no

shortage of spare cash will be keen to get back out

and into the world. Notwithstanding a forecast slow

“return to normal”, the trends already announced

before the pandemic are likely to hold fast for the next

year. According to luxury travel network, Virtuoso,

these include:

Untouristed and Unexpected: The luxury travel

network’s advisors report a rise in requests for places

ranging from the culturally distinct to those steeped

in nature, including Borneo, Greenland and Oman.

Country Coupling: Travellers are looking to explore

multiple countries, even during shorter journeys,

according to the report.

Tasty Travels: Culinary travel has transcended a trend

to become its own niche.

Group Getaways: Gen X-ers, Boomers and

even Matures are travelling to bond with friends and

others who share their passions or are at the same

life stage.

EQ Encounters: Travelers are seeking local connections

that align with their passions, such as a tasting with

the owner of a local winery, a motorcycle tour or a

personal shopper to guide them through the latest

pop-up stores.

Enjoying the Journey: According to the study, upscale

travellers are using exclusive services, including meetand-greets

plane-side, to avoid the stress of changing

terminals, locating gates or waiting in customs lines.

In the coming pages, we bring you some new ideas

when it comes to culture and city breaks, and give you

a round-up of the latest news from the “elite” sector.

Sarawak in Borneo, a trending destination


In The Field

with Yuriy Horovyy

THE “INSIDE LINE” ON WHAT’S HOT IN THE FIELD OF TRAVEL ADVICE

THE POST-

COVID-19

OUTLOOK

FOR LUXURY

TRAVEL

The luxury travel business, like all others, is

in a state of turmoil as the Covid-19 crisis

has impacted tourism and business travel on

a global scale. Virtuoso advisor and director

of London’s Almont Travel, Yuriy Horovyy

gives us his “inside line” on the situation.

In terms of supplier relations, most luxury

hotels have been very good. They are flexible

and they understand the situation. The

biggest difference between luxury hotels

and basic hotels is that for them, business

is all about relationships. Most have thus

refunded whatever they had to refund. The

biggest challenge has been with airlines.

They are financially in trouble and will

need bail-outs from the various

governments, but that support

is slow in coming to light.

So, most airlines have

not been giving

refunds

for

flights that have

been cancelled due to

the Coronavirus. Instead,

they are offering a free ticket

change and credit for another flight

after this is all over. This is against IATA

regulations, but it is what’s happening.

When it comes to corporate bookings, what

if the employee who booked the ticket

doesn’t work with the company anymore

in two months? I hope these issues can be

rectified quickly.

It is vital that all hotels reopen in July 2020

to project confidence and send a clear

message to global markets, travel agents

and tour operators that they are back and

ready for business.

many are forecasting that airports around

the world will be applying numerous and

varied draconian measures to filter travellers

for quite some time to come, even after the

borders open up again.

In terms of trending destinations, look at the

IT

IS VITAL

THAT ALL HOTELS

REOPEN IN JULY 2020

TO PROJECT CONFIDENCE

AND SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE

TO GLOBAL MARKETS,

TRAVEL AGENTS

AND TOUR

OPERATORS

Maldives, remote parts of Thailand and

other Southeast Asian destinations

like Sabah or Sarawak, and even

remote islands in Polynesia.

People will avoid typically

crowded places. Private

villas will be much

more popular

than big, crowded

hotels. Thailand overall

is one of the first countries

around the world to be exiting

lockdown, and has already been a

leader in what the future of travel may

look like: hotel staff are being trained in

deep-cleaning, plexiglass shields have been

erected in restaurants, and local performers

now wear face shields.

The Indonesian government says the holiday

island of Bali could reopen to tourists by

October, thanks to its success in controlling

the virus outbreak. Tourist hotspots like Los

Cabos and Quintana Roo In Mexico hope to

reopen in June, and should begin accepting

most international travellers from July.

Luxury travel will change in the coming

months compared to before the crisis. Highend

travel will benefit from private air travel

and go to exotic, out of the way places,

because there will be less risk of catching

the virus. It hasn’t been announced yet, but

To summarise, for some time, air travel will

have a number of restrictions that will make

life complicated, but ultra-high-end travel

to private islands and other extraordinary

remote destinations will be the “sweet

spot” for clients of luxury travel advisors.

SEE YOU AGAIN IN THE NEXT EDITION


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 9

9

WHEN EXPERIENCE REALLY COUNTS…

Virtuoso’s 20 th anniversary takes place in strange times…

but with a positive outlook

This year, Virtuoso celebrates its 20 th anniversary since rebranding from

API Travel Consultants. Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch

and his late father, Jesse, originally co-founded API in 1986.

Today, Upchurch’s key occupation is that of

navigating his elite travel network through

this unprecedented time of crisis. Virtuoso

has been closely monitoring the impact of

coronavirus, collaborating and consulting

with its travel agency members across the

world as well as its preferred partners.

Seamless trip planning and travel perks

aside, an advisor is a traveller’s number-one

advocate. Through years, if not decades,

of personal relationships, travel advisors

have access to real-time information and

can arm their clients with the facts needed

to make confident decisions, provide

informed answers to any “What would you

do?” concerns. They are able to handle the

logistics that sometimes can’t be avoided,

from last-minute flight changes to other

urgent contingency plans. Virtuoso took

the opportunity to consult with some of its

22,000 affiliated travel advisors worldwide

to get their insights into what travellers

should know as they assess their options.

These snippets of advice will be useful as

we emerge from Covid-19 confinement.

“It’s important to give my clients all the

facts about their trip, their destination,

and the policies of their travel supplier,”

says Virtuoso agency executive Amanda

Klimak. “I then help them make a decision

about travel based on the facts. I also

recommend they speak to their personal

physician to discuss the risks based on their

medical history. Then I let them know I’m

here to help, no matter what they decide.”

A travel advisor knows if or when airlines,

hotels, cruise lines and tour operators

have waived change and cancellation

fees (many have): “The entire travel

industry is in uncharted territory now due

to coronavirus,” says Virtuoso agency

executive Mary Kleen. “As travel advisors,

our current role is to listen to travellers’

concerns and provide the most up-todate

options so they can make informed

decisions at a minimal cost.”

Virtuoso agency executive Ange Wallace

explains that while sitting-out the crisis

period, it may be a good time to plan for

the future: “While you’re waiting, look

forward to the recovery, because it will

come, and you’ll need to be ready to jump

on that trip you’ve been drooling over.”

To avoid losing out on future travel

opportunities, Wallace reminds her clients

to start planning now. “Book 2021- 2022

trips now, because everyone else is and

you will have trouble finding space. Many

travel companies have relaxed deposits,

cancellation penalties and cancel for any

reason waivers to encourage those willing

to start thinking about the next window of

opportunity”

IT’S IMPORTANT

TO GIVE MY CLIENTS

ALL THE FACTS

ABOUT THEIR TRIP,

THEIR DESTINATION,

AND THE POLICIES

OF THEIR TRAVEL

SUPPLIER

Virtuoso Chairman and CEO

Matthew Upchurch on stage

at Virtuoso Travel Week


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Sarawak Cultural Village

Sarawak Cultural Village

DISCOVERING BORNEO'S CULTURAL

HERITAGE

Authentic experiences in Sarawak as the state's tourism authority

underlines culture as a key attraction

The Sarawak Cultural Village, a stone’s throw from Kuching, the capital

of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, is so authentic that it was used as a set

for the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster, the White Rajah. The village is a

living museum: ideal for a half-day visit. The diversity of Sarawak’s tribes is

simply extraordinary.

“If you take the example of the Orang

Ulu, they are divided into 26 different

sub-groups, each of which doesn’t

speak a different dialect, but speaks a

whole different language”, explains Gary

Speldewinde – Director, Ecogreen Holidays,

Kuching, Sarawak.

The Culture Village’s buildings represent

every major ethnic group in Sarawak;

namely the Bidayuh, Iban, Orang Ulu,

Penan, Melanau, Malay & Chinese. Upon

entering each building, after witnessing a

traditional welcome ceremony, visitors find

members of the ethnic groups in traditional

costume carrying out traditional activities

and taking time to pose for a photo or two.

At the Penan hut, visitors also have the

opportunity to witness the art of blowpipe

making. They can also try their hand at

blowpipe shooting with the Penans, the

last of the hunters and gatherers – forest

nomads.

THE REAL THING:

AN IBAN LONGHOUSE

AT BATANG AI

While the Sarawak cultural village is

exceptional, nothing beats the real thing.

A few hours’ drive outside Kuching, one

arrives at Batang ai dam – the shores of

which are home to a number of Iban people

living in traditional longhouses, leading

simple lives.

The biggest community – the Mengkak

longhouse – has 38 families, totalling

around 200 people. The community is

around 45 minutes’ boat ride from the

nearest resort or road.

Visiting this place, one instantly understands

that these people are, on the one hand,

quite reserved, and on the other, are very

hospitable. Their traditional rituals, dances,

foods, and costumes continue to intrigue

and fascinate visitors and researchers

from around the world. The longhouse is

made up of a large communal living space,

called the ruai, flanked on the outside by

a terrace, and on the other by individual

rooms – each housing a family. The ruai is

the place where the longhouse folk gather

for a chat or carry out their days’ activities.

Here, one eats with the Iban, seated on

the floor, savouring local fare, after tasting

the home-made rice wine and (gulp) rice

"whisky".

These are the direct descendants of the

Iban head-hunters, whose images from

yesteryear fuelled the curiosity of so many in

the past. Apart from the head-hunting, little

else has changed. It is truly an immersive

experience

You can find the online

version of the SMARTguide

on the website

www.hotelandtourismonline.com

under the “publications” menu.


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 11

11

A FACE-LIFT

FOR DURBAN

BEACHFRONT

New promenade is latest stage of a

dynamic and fascinating makeover

DURBAN’S

3 KEY ASSETS

GATEWAY… to Africa's first reserve: the

Hluhluwe - Imfolozi Park Wilderness Area was

Africa’s first proclaimed nature reserve, second

in the world only to Yellowstone. From Durban’s

King Shaka airport, it’s just a couple of hours’

drive to the reserves. The city is also gateway to

the majestic valley of 1,000 hills

The recent completion of a R380m (€24m) beach-front

promenade upgrade project in Durban has resulted in

the creation of the longest uninterrupted beachfront

promenade in Africa.

Durban is fast emerging as a

“not to be missed” destination

in Africa, surrounding visitors in

the mystical and exciting Zulu

culture and lifestyle, while being

the gateway to the Hluhluwe -

Imfolozi Park Wilderness Area,

the oldest proclaimed nature

reserve in Africa (officially opened

in 1895). It has the added “plus”

of offering exceptional sporting

and adventure tourism options.

The city is also highly renowned

for its culture, with the Inanda

Heritage Route featuring the

home base of Mahatma Gandhi

before his return to India; Durban

being the place where Gandhi

developed his political views,

ethics and politics. In 1994, it was

also here that Nelson Mandela

cast his vote in South Africa’s first

democratic elections at Inanda's

Ohlange Institute. Fitting, given

that the first president of the

African National Congress, Dr

John L. Dube, established this

school in 1901.

The new seaside promenade is part

of the €2.2bn Point Waterfront

Development, which has seen a

series of major initiatives to revamp

the coastal strip to the stage of

eventually rivalling Copacabana

in Rio or Bondi in Sydney. Due for

completion in the next two years,

the final development will include

new luxury hotels, residential

apartments, office parks and

retail developments – and will

also see a new cruise ship terminal

constructed nearby, work on

which began in November 2019.

Modern infrastructure around

Durban includes the King Shaka

international airport, which, built

in 2010 around 60km north of

the city to the strictest standards

of safety and comfort, ensures

smooth arrivals and departures for

passengers

ZULU CULTURE

Durban is "the star" of KwaZulu Natal province,

and remains the beating heart of Zulu culture

and traditions. Many of the cultures, customs,

and traditions of King Shaka’s time remain the

cornerstones of the Zulu people, and each year

the Zulu nation celebrates Heritage Day during

which the Zulu commemorate their hero, Shaka

Zulu

A PLACE THAT HAS CHANGED

THE COURSE OF HISTORY

As the place where Gandhi formed his key ideas

and mission, Durban was also the birthplace

of the African National Congress, and close to

where Nelson Mandela was arrested… and then,

many years later, voted for the first time in free

elections


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

LUXURY TRAVEL TAKES

ON A NEW SHINE

The luxury market last year reported strong growth: according

to a recent survey by Statista, luxury travel currently accounts

for 14% of tourism sales worldwide, equivalent to €750bn in

the past year.

To this end, a new handbook

entitled Basic Information

and Perspectives on Luxury

Tourism - Customer Behaviour -

Paradigm Shifts - Market Trends

- Best Practices has been released

examining the phenomenon of

luxury tourism from numerous

perspectives, with a special focus

on the trends that will dominate

the luxury market in the future, as

well as offering concrete advice to

luxury providers. Its authors are the

publisher Prof. Roland Conrady,

Head of the ITB Berlin Convention,

David Ruetz, Head of ITB Berlin

and Marc Aeberhard, Luxury Hotel

& Spa Management Ltd., all of

whom are involved with the ITB

Berlin Convention.

In the handbook, numerous

experts, including leading scientists

and senior executives, dwell on

topics ranging from developments

in the macro-environment of the

tourism market, the marketing

management of luxury providers,

to mega tourism trends and their

relevance to the luxury market.

Leading-edge examples and case

studies of the tourism market

round off this work, which is

a guide for practicians, senior

executives, employees, tour

operators, students and trainees

in the tourism industry, for whom

it is intended to serve as a manual

for tourism developments and

strategy concepts. The luxury

tourism handbook is available in

German from Springer Fachmedien

Wiesbaden and was scheduled be

published in English to coincide

with ITB Berlin 2020.

With its new Home of Luxury by

ITB - scheduled for 2020, but

now pushed back to 2021, at the

Marshall Haus of Messe Berlin,

in partnership with loop and

Luxury Hotel & Spa Management

specialists will be provided with

an exclusive platform for this

growing travel market for the first

time. As the name suggests, the

"New Home of Luxury Tourism"

will be much more than simply

an exhibition area for the luxury

market. Stay tuned!

Marc

Aeberhard

Luxury Hotel & Spa

Management Ltd

THE DOYLE COLLECTION

ARRIVES IN WASHINGTON DC

Following its multimillion-pound investment into its

UK and Irish properties, Irish family-owned The Doyle

Collection, set its sights on Washington DC for 2020.

The Dupont Circle has been unveiled as a complete

design transformation by Chairman of The Doyle

Collection, Bernie Gallagher, in collaboration with

interior designers Martin Brudnizki and New York

based, Clodagh.

The new hotel brings European style and quality

of service to the city and features a new lobby

and public areas as well as one of the city’s largest

Penthouse Suites by Clodagh, as well as buzzing new

bar and restaurant by Martin Brudnizki


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 13

13

ACCOR’S

MONDRIAN BRAND:

KEY NEW PROPERTY

OPENINGS

© 2019 Oetker Collection

Having passed an historic milestone in the past couple of months –

with the opening of their 3,000 th property in Europe, Accor has also

added a new brand in Europe this year – Mondrian.

The new brand arrives with two

properties in France. First, with the

Cannes Grand Hotel on the Croisette

and its reopening forecast for 2021.

The hotel will be comprised of 75

guestrooms distributed on 11 floors,

a restaurant and a bar overlooking on

a 4,000 m² private garden, adjustable

meeting rooms and a private beach in

front of the hotel. The private beach

opening in 2020 will unveil the Lifestyle

positioning of this new and unique

brand on the French Riviera. Another

property will arrive in Bordeaux. The

hotel, built around a 19 th century

building, will be comprised of 97

guestrooms each ranging between 25

and 50m² and spread over three floors.

© Christophe Finot

The Croisette in Cannes,

including the Grand Hotel

- soon to be a Mondrian property

Acceleration in luxury & premium

segments: For several years, the Accor

group has been carrying out a radical

transformation by specifically choosing

to expand its presence in Europe and

by accelerating the development of

its upscale brands, a sector in which

it has been nurturing a powerful

ambition since the acquisition in 2016

of the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel

brands. While the Group already

owned four Luxury & Premium brands

in 2016, it now has approximately 20

of the most prestigious, 11 of which

are located in Europe

EDEN ROCK

– ST BARTHS

REOPENS ITS

DOORS

Eden Rock – St Barths, the iconic Caribbean

property within Oetker Collection,

reopened its doors in November 2019

following an extensive two-year renovation

and rebuilding project.

Fabrice Moizan, General Manager said:

“The remaking of Eden Rock – St Barths

has been an incredible adventure and a

wonderfully rewarding experience on so

many levels.”

New experiences include browsing a broad

range of amenities, savouring the culinary

creations of Master Chef Jean Georges in

the Sand Bar restaurant, sipping divine

cocktail creations at the Rémy Bar, relaxing

blissfully at the new Eden Spa, or soaking

up the sun on the unmissable and private

Eden Rock Beach bordering the hugely

celebrated and enormous St Jean public

Beach…

Jane Matthews, co-founder and decor

coordinator at Eden Rock - St Barths

sought to keep the original informal and

amiable family atmosphere unchanged

whilst complementing the interiors with

vibrant art and loads of handpicked

books. “We are excited by the fresh new

and relaxed beach design style and diverse

colour schemes created and used now

throughout the property”


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Guests at the Umaid Bhawan

Palace can ride in a vintage car

accompanied by a Royal butler.

NEW

OPENINGS...

AND

HOMESTAY

PRODUCT IN

INDIA

A ROYAL PALACE

EXPERIENCE IN INDIA

Rising above the landscape in an extraordinary mix of architectural styles,

the Umaid Bhawan Palace near the Indian city of Jodhpur is a hotel like

few others.

Operated by Taj Hotels, it was built in the

first half of the twentieth century as a royal

palace and, with 347 rooms, is among the

10 largest private residences in the world.

The design by the Edwardian architect

Henry Lanchester blends east and west,

with the 105-foot cupola influenced by the

Renaissance, while the towers are inspired

by Rajput tradition.

Art Deco influences can be seen in the gilt

furniture and artwork of the lavish interior.

The palace has much for guests to enjoy,

including the chance to play on marbled

squash courts, have a game of billiards in

the panelled recreation room and even

drive through Jodhpur in a vintage car -

accompanied by a royal butler.

Out-of-the-ordinary experiences are also

available at another Taj Hotels property, the

Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, which

boasts Venetian chandeliers, grand marble

staircases and Rajasthani and Japanese

gardens.

Visitors can join the palace historian for a

tour that includes viewings of handmade

tapestries, royal portraits, inlaid furniture

from Kashmir and even crockery from the

Nizam's personal collection.

After the tour, guests are taken to the Jade

Room to enjoy afternoon tea.

Relaxation of a different kind is available

at the Royal Jive Spa, which offers what is

described as holistic rejuvenation inspired

by Indian approaches to wellness.

As well as massages and beauty routines,

the spa has a menu employing principles

of Ayurvedic cooking, with no additives or

preservatives

© Amã Stays & Trails

IHCL has announced a

number of new hotel

openings for 2020 including

Taj Tirupati - the spiritual

capital of Andhra Pradesh,

Devi Ratan – a SeleQtions

hotel in the newly anointed

UNESCO city of Jaipur and Taj

Jumeirah Lake Tower, Dubai.

The company has also recently

launched a new and distinctive

brand - Amã Stays & Trails, India’s

first branded homestay product.

Heritage villas are now open in

Candolim, Goa with additional

openings in the pipeline including

two bungalows in Maharashtra,

two in Kerala and one in both

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. From a

conservation standpoint, Taj Safaris

has launched the first sustainable

tourism initiative of its kind in

India. ‘Walk with the Pardhis’

is a pioneering new naturalist

experience for guests of Pashan

Garh, accompanied by members

of the local Pardhi tribe in Panna

National Park, Madhya Pradesh,

offering the Pardhi community

an alternative livelihood to

poaching and a skill set for future

generations


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 15

15

ROMANCE

& LUXURY IN

CROATIA

Less than a year since its April

2019 opening, the Grand

Park Hotel Rovinj in Croatia

has joined The Leading

Hotels of the World.

Rovinj, in Istria, is one of Croatia's

most romantic spots, and its

physical beauty is exhilarating. The

pastel houses crammed onto a

peninsula catch the sunlight during

the day and shimmer with light at

night. The Venetian bell tower of

the St Euphemia Cathedral extends

like a punctuation point to the sky.

The Grand Park Hotel Rovinj is part

of the Maistra hospitality group,

which also includes the Monte

Mulini Hotel in Rovinj. Known for

its exclusiveness, the Monte Mulini

Hotel became a member of the

LHW in 2012.

“The membership in The Leading

Hotels of the World, which is

considered to be a guarantee

of quality for luxury hotels, is

yet another confirmation of the

exceptional status the Grand

Park Hotel enjoys," said Tomislav

Popović, Maistra's CEO.

Worth the equivalent of about

$100 million, the hotel represents

the largest single investment by

the tourism business subdivision of

Adris Group, which owns Maistra.

The hotel is is situated across from

the old town of Rovinj, with a view

of the Church of St Euphemia and

the island of St Catherine.

There are 209 rooms and suites

in the six-storey venue, where

guests can enjoy restaurants, bars,

a wellness and spa centre, and

a plaza that includes numerous

shops

The Grand Park

Hotel Rovinj's

stunning pool

view

MARBELLA IN CORFU

- NEW IDEAS AND OFFERING

MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas,

Corfu, Greece

MarBella Nido Suite Hotel

& Villas, a member of Small

Luxury Hotels of the World,

has announced a series of

new offerings.

These include signature suites

with new premium benefits

such as dine-out experiences in

local restaurants and 'you drive'

must have add-ons, to get out

and explore the island of Corfu.

Unique traditional Greek and

gourmet experiences will be

on offer inside and outside the

property for foodies to taste on

a beautiful Kaiki boat or relax

at the hotel and take in the

stunning views with a delicious

wine tasting experience.

The island where Ulysses

met Princess Nausicaa in one

of Homer’s Odyssey most

celebrated scenes is a magical

destination all year long:

colourful music events, culinary

feasts, religious festivals,

carnival celebrations, known for

their deep Venetian influences,

and the most joyful Easter

in Greece form an exquisite

mosaic of experiences


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

© Jonas Unger - CNW Group/Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Susan Sarandon

NEW IDEAS

UNDER THE

TROPICAL

SUN

The newly formed luxury

hospitality and lifestyle

brand LHM is set to build

on the iconic reputation of

its grand dame hotel The

Legian Seminyak in Bali, with

ambitious expansion plans

for wider Indonesia, Asia and

beyond.

NEW BRAND

AMBASSADOR FOR

FAIRMONT

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has

named film icon Susan Sarandon as

its new global brand ambassador.

The Oscar-winning actress will star

in a soon-to-be-launched global

brand campaign that will portray the

transformative power of travel, connecting

Fairmont's history and majestic hotels with

modern sensibilities and the dreams of a

new generation of travellers.

Fairmont's links with the world of cinema

go back a long way. Fans of the golden

age of film might spot Fairmont hotels in

such movie classics as North by Northwest,

River of No Return, Vertigo, Breakfast at

Tiffany's, and The French Lieutenant's

Woman. Ms. Sarandon herself has

appeared in a number of films shot onlocation

at Fairmont hotels, including Little

Women, The January Man and King of

Gypsies.

"Fairmont and Susan Sarandon share

a spirit of adventure, a passion for thinking

globally and acting locally, and a history

of turning words into action," said

Sharon Cohen, Vice President, Fairmont

Hotels & Resorts. "We chose Susan to

represent the essence of Fairmont -

representing a strength of character and

timeless sophistication."

The collaboration between Ms Sarandon

and the Fairmont brand will focus on their

shared values. With Oscar, BAFTA, and

SAG awards, along with a filmography of

over 100 films, Ms Sarandon continues to

inspire audiences with new work, including

roles in The Meddler, The Jesus Rolls and

Ray Donovan.

"It is a privilege to work with Fairmont,

a company for whose values I have great

respect and whose extraordinary hotels are

a joy to experience," said Ms Sarandon.

"Together, we hope to convey a sense of

life as a grand journey that we hope will

be meaningful and inspiring to guests and

fans of Fairmont around the world"

The first step in the brand’s

expansion will be the opening

of The Legian Sire, Lombok

in 2020. Located on one of

Lombok’s finest beaches, the allsuite

and villa resort will have

staggering views towards the

Gili islands and Lombok’s Mount

Rinjani. It is boutique in size with

45 suites and 15 pool villas and the

architecture is by award-winning

ESA International, headed up by

Indonesian talent Putu Edy Semara.

RENOVATIONS FOR

RITZ-CARLTON

RESERVE IN THAILAND

In Krabi, Phulay Bay, the world’s

first Ritz-Carlton Reserve property,

opened eight new and refurbished

beachfront villas in December 2019.

The newly refreshed villas’ design

enhances the existing environment

through the integration of local

Thai art and cultural heritage, with

a sophisticated feel

LHM: One Bedroom Beachfront

Villa - bedroom and living room


MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 17

17

© Andries-Oudshoorn

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

A NEW

DYNAMIC

IN 2019

Despite a continually turbulent political dynamic,

the Middle East has, over the past years, been

seeing a strengthening of international tourism.

The decision by Oman to partner with ITB, not to

mention moves by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

to open its doors to international tourism are

no doubt the two key points that have marked

tourism promotion over the past year. Dubai’s Expo

2020 has, over past years, been a strong element

in terms of marketing. At time of writing, it looks

like the Expo will be pushed back to 2021.

For its part, Africa continues to work on

harmonising its message – under “Brand Africa”

– further encouraged by the UNWTO. Africa is a

mishmash of 54 very different countries, and is the

fastest growing continent in terms of population.

Six African countries are among the top ten fastest

growing economies of the world. There are many

more unique selling points of this continent that

need to be packaged for the world.

In the next pages, we present some of the latest

news from these destinations.

Oman Mountain road

from Nizwa to Wadi Bani Awf


MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

REPORT EXCELLENT 2019

While it is currently, of course, impossible to make predictions for the

current year, 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

Africa figures

Shinana Tower, near al-Rass,

Qasim region

Middle East figures


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 19

19

Kapsarc Mosque,

Riyadh

SAUDI ARABIA TO HOST G20

TOURISM MINISTERS SUMMIT

As part of the Kingdom’s presidency of the G20, ministers are

scheduled to meet in Jeddah in October

After last year’s G20 meeting of Tourism Ministers in Kutchan, Japan, this

year’s meeting scheduled for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in October will be a vital

stepping stone in helping the industry emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.

Already, before the opening of the special

G20 leaders’ meeting in Riyadh in March,

the World Travel & Tourism Council urged

world leaders to execute crucial measures

to save the Travel & Tourism sector.

The call by the WTTC, which represents

the global Travel & Tourism private sector,

implored the G20 leaders to assign

resources and coordinate efforts to rescue

major travel businesses of all kinds. These

include airlines, cruise lines, hotels, GDS

and technology companies, as well as the

SMEs such as travel agents, tour operators,

restaurants, independent workers and the

entire supply chain.

The WTTC welcomed the special virtual

meeting in March, hosted by His Royal

Highness King Salman of the Kingdom of

Saudi Arabia, which coincided with the

release by the WTTC of its latest annual

Economic Impact Report. According to

WTTC’s 2019 research, Saudi Arabia’s new

tourism strategy has made it the fastest

growing and best performer. A growth

of 14% in Travel & Tourism, contributed

9.5%, including direct, indirect and induced

impacts, to the Kingdom’s total economy,

supporting 1.45m jobs (11.2% of the

country’s total).

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO,

said: “We thank the Kingdom of Saudi

Arabia for its outstanding leadership

and commitment by prioritising the

development of Travel & Tourism with

extraordinary results in a short time frame.

We hope that with its leadership and

recognition of the Travel & Tourism sector,

which contributes to one in 10 jobs in the

planet, the Kingdom under its Presidency,

will work with the largest economies of the

world to implement critical measures for its

survival.”

The Economic Impact Report underlines the

importance of the Travel & Tourism sector in

aiding the world economic recovery, stating

that throughout 2019 the sector supported

one in 10 jobs (330 million). The Travel &

Tourism sector also outperformed the 2.5%

rate of global GDP growth, thanks to an

annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%.

A breakdown by WTTC shows Asia Pacific

to be the top performing region worldwide

with a growth rate of 5.5%, followed by

the Middle East at 5.3%. The US and EU

both demonstrated a growth rate of 2.3%.

However, the country showing the best

performance was Saudi Arabia, growing

four times faster than the global average


MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

TRENDING DESTINATIONS

OMAN IS BLESSED TO HAVE ALMOST ALL

THE NATURAL INGREDIENTS TO MAKE IT AN

IDEAL TOURIST DESTINATION.

Ahmed Bin Nasser

Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi

Minister of Tourism, Oman

AN INCREDIBLE ARABIAN

TOURISM EXPERIENCE

Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism,

Oman - on Oman's wonderful tourism assets

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

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 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 arriving

in Oman, we are also targeting the United

States, Russia and China for the future


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 21

21

CULTURE MEETS TECH

IN OMAN

The Royal Opera House Muscat goes “cashless”

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.

OPERA GALLERIA

OPENS AS A

LUXURY SHOPPING

DESTINATION

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 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.

© Khalid Al Busaidi

Military Music

at Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM)

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...​


MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

TRENDING DESTINATIONS

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 worldclass

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 thus keen on promoting

tourism investment in Oman as

well as showcasing its hospitality

assets to travel professionals.

Key hospitality assets include

Atana Hotels including the

newly launched Atana Stays, W

Muscat, JW Marriott Muscat,

Millennium Resort Mussanah,

InterContinental Muscat and

Alila Jabal Akhdar Resort

OMRAN GROUP OPENS

OMAN’S FIRST JW MARRIOTT

JW Marriott 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”

OMAN WINS “BEST AIRPORT

IN MIDDLE EAST” AWARD

Aimen Bin Ahmed

Al Hosni

CEO, Oman Airports

According to Aimen Bin Ahmed

Al Hosni – CEO – Oman Airports,

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 26 th edition of

World Travel Awards Middle

East Gala Ceremony 2019, as

well as 'World’s Leading Airport

Operator' and 'World’s Leading

Airport Website'."

Muscat International and

Salalah Airport, alongside the

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


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #46

2020 Spring Edition 23

23

Ahmed

Al Qaseer

COO, Sharjah Investment

and Development Authority

(Shurooq)

TOWARDS

"SHARJAH

VISION 2021"

The Emirate aims for increased

sustainability in its tourism

destinations

From luxury retreats to refurbished historical buildings,

Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq)

is developing a range of sustainable tourism projects in

the UAE.

Shurooq COO, Ahmed Al

Qaseer, says 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.

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.Through its world-class

offerings under the “Sharjah

Collection” brand, Shurooq is at

the forefront of eco-tourism in

the region

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 redhued,

iron-rich Hajar

Mountains, the magic of

camping under the stars

and stargazing in the

dunes awaits guests at this

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.

archaeological and cultural

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

Al Noor Island

- Butterfly paradise

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

Paddle boarding

in Sharjah


MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

TRENDING DESTINATIONS

SAUDI ARABIA AIMS FOR MAJOR

The Kingdom is laying the groundwork for the onset of tourism in

for visitors developing fast

Saudi Arabia is gearing up for its tourist industry to expand

after new visa regulations made it easier for travellers

from dozens of countries to visit. Fahd Hamidaddin,

Chief of Investment, Strategy and Marketing at the Saudi

Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, outlines

the key goals of Saudi Arabia in opening-up to global

tourism.

For the first time, Saudi Arabia

has opened to tourists from

across the world. Our tourism

sector represents significant new

opportunities: for businesses and

investors, for local communities,

and for the world’s tourists.

As a major driver of economic

growth and social opportunities,

our goal is to create sustainable

employment for Saudis, boost

foreign investment and ultimately,

in line with Vision 2030, diversify

our economy away from oil.

Our efforts and partnerships

will reflect Saudi Arabia’s work

this year when we host the G20

Summit in November. One focus

of the Kingdom’s G20 presidency

in 2020 will be tourism as a means

of sustainable socioeconomic

development, while addressing

the environmental, social and

economic impact of tourism.

to make it easy for the world’s

tourists to visit Saudi Arabia.

It is well known that Saudi Arabia

is undertaking major economic

and social changes, and

opening doors to international

WE ARE

COMMITTED TO

OPENING UP TO

THE WORLD WHILE

PROTECTING

OUR NATURAL

TREASURES SUCH

AS THE CORAL

REEFS OF THE RED

SEA AND OUR FIVE

UNESCO WORLD

HERITAGE SITES

Fahd Hamidaddin

Chief of Investment, Strategy

and Marketing, SCTH

Why the big change in policy?

Last year marked an historic

milestone for Saudi Arabia as the

country opened to international

tourists. Since September 2019,

visitors from 49 countries have

been able to apply for e-visas and

visas on arrival. We have since

expanded our visa-on-arrival to

include anyone with a valid US,

UK or Schengen visa as we work

tourists is a policy change which

demonstrates Saudi Arabia’s

increasingly global outlook. In line

with Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is

developing its tourism offering to

build bridges between cultures

and create productive economic

links, develop a significant new

sector and increase workforce

participation for women and

young people.


Hotel & Tourism

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25

TOURISM GROWTH

coming decades, with red tape slashed and provision

As the Chief of Investment, Strategy

and Marketing at the Saudi Commission

for Tourism and National Heritage, I am

proud to say that opening the country to

international tourism is one of the most

significant Vision 2030 initiatives.

Will Germany and in broader terms,

Europe be an important market for

Saudi tourism?

We predict China, the United States,

Germany and United Kingdom will

be amongst Saudi Arabia’s top source

markets for inbound tourism. We are

excited to offer a glimpse into the country’s

ancient heritage and deep-rooted culture,

breathtaking outdoor activities, local

handicrafts and delicious food.

Sustainability is a buzz word we hear

a lot, but what is Saudi Arabia actually

doing to protect the environment as

you develop your tourism sector?

Preservation of our natural sites has been

the bedrock of the infrastructure plans – we

are committed to opening up to the world

while protecting our natural treasures such

as the coral reefs of the Red Sea and our

five UNESCO World Heritage sites.

In key initiatives, we are advancing

responsible and sustainable tourism

through specific funding and partnerships.

For example, in AlUla, where we’re opening

the site to visitors gradually, we’re investing

$20m to save the endangered Arabian

leopard. In Amaala, a mega project in the

northwest coastline, we’re partnering with

the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

to undertake conservation initiatives and

marine life research, and at the Red Sea

project, all initiatives must ensure biodiversity

preservation

SAUDI MAKES TOURISM

INVESTMENTS

Saudi Arabia is highlighting a series

of development projects to enhance

the country's tourism sector. These

include:

• The restoration and preservation

of Saudi Arabia's unique heritage

attractions, including the UNESCO

World Heritage Site at Ad Diriyah,

the AlUla archaeological site and the

Jeddah Historical District.

• Infrastructure such as hotels and

improved transport links close to some

of the Kingdom’s natural attractions,

which span a range of topographies,

from the mountains of Abha to the

beaches of the Red Sea to the shifting

sands of the Empty Quarter.

• New attractions under development

include the futuristic city of Neom,

the Qiddiya entertainment city near

Riyadh and luxury destinations beside

the Red Sea

WTTC UNDERPINS PLANS FOR SAUDI

TOURISM EXPANSION

The World Travel & Tourism Council

(WTTC) has partnered with the Saudi

Commission for Tourism and National

Heritage to make Saudi Arabia a

"top five" inbound destination,

with 100 million international

and domestic visits, by 2030. The

strategic partnership will harness

the power and expertise of WTTC’s

global membership, world class

events and experience in research

and strategic policy work to support

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious goals and

Vision 2030 plan. Speaking in Riyadh

at the launch of Saudi’s new tourism

visa on World Tourism Day last year,

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO

AlUla archaeological

site

of WTTC said “I congratulate Saudi

Arabia on its decision to open the

country to tourists from across the

world and look forward to working

together to make Saudi Arabia a must

visit destination the world over. Today

history is being written!"

Diving on Red Sea

reefs in Saudi Arabia

- now a big draw card

for the Kingdom

© Ryan McMinds


MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

TRENDING DESTINATIONS

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE NATURAL KIND

Following a strategic agreement in 2018 between the Accor

and Mantis groups, an exclusive new game reserve has

been opened just north of Durban, South Africa, in a total

wilderness area belonging to the local Zulu community.

LUXURY IN THE WILD:

WITH CONSERVATION AS A

MISSION

Hluhluwe Imfolozi is the oldest

nature reserve area in Africa,

and is one in which, thanks to

its beautifully maintained private

concessions, “close encounters”

with the extraordinary wildlife are

relatively easy.

Zulu chiefs enabled the opening

of this new parcel of land to a

very select number of visitors,

granting Mantis a 6,000-hectare

concession on pristine wilderness

for the creation of the new

reserve. The new concession has

thus been added to the broader

(around 100,000 hectares) stateowned

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game

Reserve.

Two 5-star lodges have been

constructed – the Biyela Lodge

and Mthembu Lodge – offering

distinct experiences overlooking

the White iMfolozi River.

Biyela Lodge property manager

Melissa Marx explains that a

key selling point is that this is a

veritable wilderness area: “It was

the original hunting ground of

King Shaka, but no tourists have

ever set foot here before”

Suite at Biyela Lodge

Already well established meanwhile as an ultraluxury

eco-resort, also in KwaZulu Natal, Thanda

Safari offers guests an authentically South African

wildlife experience matched with commitment to

the Zulu culture and passionate conservation of the

environment.

Meaning “love” in isiZulu, Thanda is a member

of The Leading Hotels of the World and multiple

winner of World’s Leading Luxury Lodge. Its mission

is to serve as a “responsible custodian of the

environment, combining respect for biodiversity in

partnership with wildlife conservation agencies and

rural community support initiatives”

Convivial get together

during Thanda safari

© Thanda Safari

ACCOR BOOSTS

PRESENCE IN AFRICA

AND MIDDLE EAST

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.

New Raffles Seychelles -

one of the top properties

on the list for Accor's

new South Africa office

With 297 hotels across MEA, Roxanne

Macgregor has been named Key Account

Manager, South Africa - Global Sales

Office, Middle East & Africa, leading the

team.

“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


MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

TRENDING HOTELS

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27

TRENDING

IN THE

EMIRATES

PALACE DOWNTOWN - DUBAI

Poised along the banks of Burj Lake and featuring vintage

architecture reminiscent of a traditional Arabian palace,

Palace Downtown is an exemplary luxury destination and an

ode to Arabian heritage. From award-winning contemporary

dining to a sumptuous abundance of traditional delicacies

served in an elegant setting, the city resort delivers delight to

everyone with a taste for something different. The decorative

themes at The Spa are rich in Arabian heritage and create an

unforgettably luxurious guest experience. From the resort,

guests can enjoy great views of Burj Khalifa and the world’s

largest fountain display, or discover, just a step away, a

shopping heaven – The Dubai Mall.

PARK HYATT DUBAI

ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH

OF THE LAGOON

© Jewel Changi Airport Devt.

The iconic Park Hyatt Dubai has announced the

opening of a new extension to the property comprising

a majestic 100 metre infinity lagoon leading into an

impeccable private beach, with uninterrupted views of

the Creek and the Dubai skyline.

Unveiled 2019, the Lagoon is a new, distinctive haven

of tranquillity on Dubai Creek for beachside relaxation,

offering an escape from the bustling city, with glistening

waters, pristine sands and picturesque views. The

breath-taking architecture and idyllic resort surroundings

transport guests to “the azure shores of a distant tropical

retreat”.

Boasting almost 2,000 square metres of immaculate

quartz sand and encircled in lush green landscaping, the

Lagoon offers a variety of relaxation settings, from elegant

sun lounges to stylish gazebos and private cabanas, where

the only view is that of the serene lagoon waters, adjacent

creek and city skyline.

W ABU DHABI – YAS ISLAND

THE “WORLD’S ONLY HOTEL LOCATED ON

A GRAND PRIX RACETRACK”

Buckle up… W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International,

have announced the arrival of the W brand in the UAE capital with

the opening of W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island.

Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s bustling entertainment epicentre,

the hotel is the brand’s second W Hotel to open this year in the United

Arab Emirates after W Dubai – The Palm, and has the bragging rights

to be the only hotel in the world located atop a Grand Prix racetrack.

Set to galvanise the island thanks to its innovative design and high

energy, the resort sits between the racetrack and the marina. The hotel

is also in close proximity to Ferrari World, Warner Brothers Studios and

Abu Dhabi’s biggest shopping centre, the Yas Mall.


MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

TRENDING HOTELS

SELMAN MARRAKECH

– TRANSPORTING

GUESTS WITH

ARABIAN HORSE-

POWER

“When God wanted to create the horse, he said

the south wind: I will leave you a creature that is

the glory of my faithful, the terror of my enemies,

a beauty reserved for those who obey me ... and

God took a handful of wind and made a horse.” -

An Arabian legend.

At the foot of the Atlas

Mountains, and designed

by Jacques Garcia, Selman

seduces with its timeless

harmony. At this intimate,

personal and family-owned

property, each guest shares

in the joy, love and dreams of

their warm and passionate

hosts. In this timeless palace

whose construction was

the vision of the owner,

precious moments are

embodied in the presence

of thoroughbred Arabian

horses, symbols of a bygone

grandeur, which capture

the spirit of Selman and

invite the joy of living. There

are views of the horses from

the terraces and the gardens

where one can admire the

majesty and poise of these

animals.

Owner Abdeslam Bennani

Smires says horses are his

passion, as is the hotel

industry: “I have the

privilege of combing the

two with a consistent

association. Just as palaces

showcase pieces of art, we

have decided to go for a

live installation of the most

beautiful breed of horse

in the world, the Arabian

thoroughbred, which is an

integral part of our history

and culture”

© Selman Marrakech

Jumeirah Muscat Bay

JUMEIRAH: NOVEL

CULINARY EXPERIENCES

IN DUBAI... AND A NEW

PROPERTY IN MUSCAT

One of Jumeirah’s key focuses for 2020 is to

continue to elevate the already renowned

culinary offering under the direction of the

group’s Chief Culinary Officer, Michael Ellis.

Pioneering trailblazing

culinary concepts, Jumeirah

Group is thrilled to reveal

four new signature

restaurants, Rockfish,

Shimmers, Zheng He’s

and KAYTO pop-up within

Jumeirah Mina A’Salam

and Jumeirah Al Naseem in

Dubai, including a brandnew

concept and the

relaunch of two of Dubai’s

most-loved venues.

From innovative Chinese

cuisine and Mediterranean

seafood with Italian flair

to exotic Peruvian-Nikkei

and a beachside Greek

experience, the four distinct

restaurants are set to

impress Dubai residents and

visitors alike this season.

The four unique restaurants

showcase the hotel group’s

emphasis on delivering

culinary excellence, oneof-a-kind

atmosphere

and unparalleled service.

Michael Ellis comments:

“Innovation is at the

heart of what we do and

therefore I am delighted

to announce the evolution

of three of our restaurants

in Jumeirah Mina A’Salam

and Jumeirah Al Naseem

as well as the launch of a

brand-new pop-up KAYTO

in Jumeirah Al Naseem.”

DUE TO OPEN THIS

YEAR: JUMEIRAH

MUSCAT BAY

Located in the picturesque

cove of Bandar Jissah, the

206-key hotel will include a

1,200 square metres Talise

Spa, a dive centre, a wide

range of sports and leisure

facilities, a selection of

restaurants, bars and cafes

and a kids club


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

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29

© iStock - chombosan

TECHNOLOGY IN

THE POST COVID-19

WORLD

The Covid-19 crisis is set to change the

way many things are done in the hospitality

industry.

As hotels and restaurants will re-open their

doors measures, have to be implemented

that facilitate physical distancing and limit

possibilities for cross contamination.

New technologies are playing a major role in

this respect. Contactless check-In, such as that

offered by Canary Technologies, allows hotels

to check guests in with no physical or material

contact between the guest and the front-desk

agent. Hotels can provide their guests with a

mobile link with instructions to check-in either

prior to arrival or once they have reached the

property.

By the same token, in restaurants or bars, it is

not possible to sanitise a printed menu after

every use. One solution is QR ordering via guest

mobile. The guest scans a QR code on his / her

mobile, sees the menu and places the order via

the mobile without downloading any app.

As the months go by, a large number of new

ideas will no doubt come to light. Keeping

up with technology is thus increasingly vital

to business. In the next pages, we bring you

just some of the latest news. It pays to stay in

touch.


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

TO REDUCE CARBON

EMISSIONS IN AIR

TRAVEL

© 2019 Skililipappa

Over the next ten years, the

Lufthansa Group is set to receive

a new fuel-efficient aircraft

every two weeks on average,

with carbon emissions reduced

by up to 25% compared to

previous models.

The group’s modern, efficient, and

standardised fleet covers various

market segments, as continuous

investments are made in fundamental

fleet modernisation. Sustainability is a

key factor in this strategy.

Using aircraft of the most recent

generation is, says Lufthansa, the

best short-term lever for reducing

aviation emissions. Increasingly fuelefficient

aircraft and a large number

of fuel efficiency programs have

already allowed the Lufthansa Group

to significantly reduce the specific

consumption of its fleet by 30% over

the past 25 years.

On several occasions, the Lufthansa

Group has been a “launch customer”,

being the first to introduce new

aircraft that are quieter and more fuelefficient,

such as the Airbus A320neo

for Lufthansa in 2016 or the C Series

aircraft for SWISS. In the long-haul

segment, the Lufthansa Group has

also been emphasising climate and

environmental responsibility for years

by commissioning new aircraft. The

Airbus A350-900, which Lufthansa

has so far operated exclusively from

Munich, is one of the most modern

and environmentally friendly long-haul

jets.

Lufthansa will be one of the first

airlines in the world to welcome a

further fleet addition in 2021: the

Boeing 777-9. The Lufthansa Group

has ordered a total of 20 of these

high-efficiency long-haul aircraft. The

two newly developed GE9X engines

and the extremely long and narrowly

curved wings, which are largely made

of carbon fibre, are the main factors

in increasing fuel efficiency. The

Boeing 777-9 also provides a much

wider cabin than its predecessors. For

the first time, it will feature the new

Business Class, with direct aisle access

for every passenger

Lufthansa's new Boeing 777-9

aircraft will contribute to greater

energy savings for the airline

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


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

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31

UNVEILING

A NEW WAY TO BOOK

DIRECT MEETING

AND HOTEL ROOMS

ONLINE

SABA Hospitality's

solution

Booking meeting rooms can be a frustrating and

time-consuming process as meeting planners need

to enquire with venues through email, phone or RFP

correspondence to determine meeting space availability

and pricing.

The MICE segment is the latest

in the hospitality industry

to embrace digitalisation.

In partnership with Nordic

Choice hotels, MeetingPackage

provides unique cloud-based

venue management software

that enables hotels and other

meetings & events venues to

sell their meeting rooms and

event spaces more efficiently

online.

“Even though the hospitality

industry is in the vanguard

of innovation when it comes

to digitalising sales channels,

MICE has stubbornly remained

a largely manual and offline

segment. Nordic Choice

Hotels is one of the first major

European hotel chains to adopt

an online sales strategy for their

MICE services, believing that

it is time to digitise Meetings

& Events sales and offer a

better customer experience to

clients while decreasing costs,”

said Joonas Ahola, CEO of

MeetingPackage.

“The arrival of online booking

for conference and meeting

rooms and hotel overnights

has led to the creation of an

easier workload for organisers,

planners and travellers. Our

eight hotels in Stockholm have

already submitted extremely

positive feedback and the

plan is to launch this service

at our hotels across all Nordic

countries,” said Lisa Farrar,

CDO of Nordic Choice Hotels

HOW VIRTUAL

HOSTS

TRANSFORM THE

MANAGEMENT OF

HOLIDAY RENTALS

SABA Hospitality says digital hosts can

literally transform the management of holiday

rental properties.

The holiday rental industry is rapidly expanding,

representing an estimated €80bn annually. While the

extra income is undoubtedly appealing, the time and

energy it takes to service an increasingly demanding

guest demographic is becoming problematic for many

private rental operators, no matter how many properties

they manage.

Meeting Package and Nordic Choice Hotels

are aiming to making online meeting

bookings easier

Digital guidebooks can provide some relief, but by

themselves, fail to meet the communication needs of

the modern traveller. Despite providing comprehensive

property information in the form of a physical or digital

guidebook, hosts are often confronted to guests

messages or emails with questions already answered in

the manual. It is often due to the necessity for the guest

to communicate directly and actively with his host.

The use of chatbots, or virtual hosts, will give guests

a means to communication that is in alignment with

their wants and needs, while providing private rental

operators a level of automation that give them more

free time. Virtual hosts can turn into a great platform to

service guests, provide recommendations and increase

revenue


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

ADDING VALUE

TO HOSPITALITY –

THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

FCS surfs on a new brand identity, along with a fresh range of

apps set to drive more efficiency in the hospitality sector

With more than three decades of experience globally, hospitality technology

platform provider FCS is now promoting the REVO range of mobile apps –

set to make like much easier… and profitable… for the hotelier.

FCS is a leading hospitality mobile

technology provider with an extensive

portfolio of integrated solutions. HITEC

Minneapolis 2019 saw the unveiling of

the company’s fresh new brand identity

and the introduction of the REVO range,

which is designed to unlock higher

ROI for hoteliers across every aspect

of their operations, bringing unified

communication across all teams.

More than just a technology and

software solution, FCS provides the tools

which enable hoteliers, management

and employees to further reach

operational excellence through business

transformation that ultimately contributes

to increased guest satisfaction and a

unique experience.

Today general managers, heads of

departments, owners have a technology

investment dilemma whereby they need

to meet three major objectives: Win the

race of differentiated guest experience,

ensure talent retention, and meet new

sustainability goals.

FCS's mobile and web-based applications

seamlessly integrate across all hotel

operations such as Guest Services,

Housekeeping (Rooms, Public Areas...);

Engineering and Preventive Maintenance;

Incidents and Recovery; Concierge

(Services, Valet, Luggage, parcels...).

In addition, FCS Analytics & reporting

allow for valuable actionable data, further

powered by FCS billing gateway & digital

messaging solutions.

Incorporating the latest trends in userexperience,

the REVO range supports

hotels as they go through their digital

transformation. The embedding of a

full feature rich FCS messenger

application, unifies all

communication flows of

the entire hotel, with

chat messaging,

calls, photo sharing,

REVO eliminates the

need for expensive and

noisy RF radios.

“Over the past 35 years we

have grown with the hotel business

and created products that help hotels

run more efficiently in some 5,000

properties across 32 countries,” said

Pascale Chatelain, the company’s Vice-

President, Global Sales, Marketing

& Channels. “This is a game

changer in the evolution of

the company with our fresh

new look embodying our

innovative spirit and forwardthinking

approach.”

Elena Volkova, Head of Product Design

for FCS, adds: “Our Housekeeping,

Engineering, Connect, Concierge and

Recovery solutions have been developed

from the ground up after months of

research and feature a highly intuitive and

easy to use customer interface that will

require very minimal training for users.”

“Our solutions can be fully integrated

with existing software

solutions (including

most PMS on the

market). “FCS

has an

open API


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33

360 ° view of Hotel Operations - unified instant communication

platform and integrates with over 400

other software solutions.”

Maximising benefits of automation by

integrating with new ecosystems such

as Guest Room management systems

are essential. Recently FCS integrated

with Interact hospitality from Signify at

the Swissotel in Singapore for greater

productivity, energy management and

guest experience.

WHY INVEST IN THIS

KIND OF TECHNOLOGY?

In a competitive environment, hotel

operators need to do more with less:

back-of-house automation can improve

the property's result.

Chatelain outlines the top reasons for

investing in FCS apps:

Guest experience & staff

empowerment: “FCS enables seamless

communication for hotel departments,

real time decisions, and actionable

insights to constantly improve the quality

of service. Our solutions help redefine jobs

for greater value add. New generation of

talents will not consider positions which

rely on intensive administrative manual

work. More fulfilled they are easier to

attract and retain.

Productivity & ROI: “Our solutions are

designed to achieve maximum Return

On Investment (ROI). For instance, FCS

engineering provides great ROI for

owners by improving asset longevity

through the automation and optimisation

of preventive maintenance and tracking

of assets.”

Sustainability: “Automation eliminates

the need for manual work streams and

significantly reduces paper use (up to 1,5

tons per year for a 300 Room hotel).”

WHO BENEFITS?

Guests: Satisfaction improves with faster

request fulfilment, better maintained

rooms, and consistency of quality of

service. Hotels can increase their room

turnaround time by an average of 30%

thus more guests can enjoy early check as

rooms are more readily available

Staff: Hotel staff see some of the most

time consuming tasks reduced, are

happier and empowered. This is due to

real-time informed decision-making, and

feedback from happier guests.

Management: Through real time

management of their hotel or

departments, managers can be more

efficient, better support their teams, and

can improve their performance through

data analytics provided by the FCS

applications.

Owners: Not only is ROI a major factor,

owners also appreciate better service

means better reviews, increased guest

loyalty overall improved performance.

In addition to the launch of REVO, the

company’s launched a new visual identity

in July 2019, representing the company's

vision


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

MACHINE LEARNING AND

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL

RESHAPE THE WAY WE SELL, DELIVER

AND EXPERIENCE TRAVEL

Sean Menke

CEO, Sabre

SABRE’S NEW ROAD MAP

CEO Sean Menke strives to transform the organisation

and its culture

We are all operating in a highly digitalised world with rapidly evolving

consumer expectations. And over the past years, many sectors such as

music, video or retail have been reshaped by technology.

Sean Menke, the CEO of Sabre, says this is

creating opportunities for travel providers

to innovate, especially when it comes to

delivering a state-of-the-art consumergrade

experiences: “In my discussions

with leading industry players, I’m seeing

an increasing willingness to have candid

conversations, break down silos, and

reimagine the business of travel to the

benefit of all stakeholders, including and

above all the travellers.”

And Menke says business is set to get

smarter: “In the next decade, we believe

that machine learning and artificial

intelligence will reshape the way we sell,

deliver and experience travel. A world of

just-what-I-want, just-when-I-want-it, justhow-I-want-it

is right around the corner for

the travel industry. Our customers succeed

when the traveller’s demands are met, so

our product development starts with the

traveller’s needs and we invest significantly

in understanding their expectations, and

delivering technology that enables airlines,

agents, hotels and other stakeholders to

meet and exceed those expectations.”

As the industry changes, Menkee says

Sabre wants to be a leader in this evolution,

as the company strives to be the platform

at the centre of the business of travel:

“Since I became CEO in December 2016,

I have dedicated my time to transforming

the organisation and its culture. We’ve

prioritised product health, undertaken

the modernisation of the technology

infrastructure that powers our platform,

accelerated our transition to a modern,

cloud-based open environment, and realigned

the businesses so that customers

would hear a single voice and a unified

strategy. For each of these efforts, we have

a set of detailed internal measurements of

success and we are making good progress

against each of them.”

The Sabre CEO says the travel marketplace

looks nothing like it did a half century ago

when Sabre was founded, and it continues

to evolve with better data-driven offers

that are tailored for consumers. Until very

recently, the focus has primarily been on

flights and accommodation – not just for

Sabre, but in the entire industry ecosystem.

But there are many other opportunities.

To be successful, says Menke, you need

technology platforms that bundle all kinds

of travel content and make it available.

This, he considers to be Sabre’s most

important task: “How do we make it

possible to plan a complete trip with our

systems – and not just with flights and

hotels?”

“We want to lead that evolution,”

concludes Menke, adding “In the coming

years, Sabre will lead a new market for

personalised travel. That’s our ambition, our

guiding star”


ONE WORLD.

ONE INDUSTRY.

ONE DAILY.

INDIA

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ITB-INDIA.COM


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