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Mar
10
 
 HR MAG @ ITB BERLIN
HR Magazine
HR MAGAZINE will be at ITB Berlin Trade Show together with the Egyptian Hotel Association - Red Sea, from 11th to 15th March 2009. Its representatives, Mr. Sameh Hwaidak and Mr. Shehata Amin, will be pleased to introduce the publication to all visitors and will explain how it will benefit the Egyptian tourism market.

The whole world meets at ITB Berlin: people working in the travel
industry and people who want to catch up on the most beautiful travel destinations.

The combination of trade exhibition, public exhibition and the biggest professional convention worldwide attracts tens of thousands of visitors, exhibitors and media representatives every year. This will be the launching platform for the
HR MAGAZINE, which will soon reach a very large international audience.

Information on all areas of travel are present at ITB Berlin: destinations, tour operators, booking systems, carriers, hotels and all other suppliers who want to embellish their customers’ most beautiful weeks of the year.

HR MAGAZINE will be one of the tools used to promote Egypt and its tourism transversally, from hotel owners to the final user, the tourist, through hotel suppliers, travel agencies and key decision makers.

ITB Berlin is an excellent opportunity to meet business partners and to do business. For all visitors ITB Berlin is a wonderful possibility to discover the whole world within a few hours.
HR MAGAZINE will be a part of all this.

 
Mar
21
 
Egypt reveals measures to bolster tourism
 HR Magazine
According to Middle East News Agency, Hisham Zaazou, assistant Tourism Minister, said that Egyptian tourism industry, the country’s top hard currency earner, has started to feel the pinch of the Global Financial Crisis, with hotel bookings down 30 percent in January 2009 compared to the same month in 2008.

To encourage the Hospitality Industry Zoheir Garana, the Tourism Minister, agreed to exempt hotels from paying
contributions to the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority and will cut fees paid by charter flights to help its tourism industry cope with the Global Financial Crisis.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism would also set up a working group to deal with the fallout of the crisis, with measures being reviewed and changed every three months.

Zaazou added Egypt’s aviation minister had agreed to reduce landing and take-off fees, as well as ground handling fees for charter flights, and waive them entirely for charter flights that make 11 trips to designated destinations in the span of three months. The ministry would also change its broadcast advertisement campaigns to focus on promoting Egypt as an affordable holiday destination

 
Mar
21
 
Saqqara - Zahi Hawass opens 2,600 year old sarcophagus with intact mummy
Illuminated only by torches and camera lights, Egyptian laborers used crowbars and picks in the first days of February 2009, to lift the lid off a 2,600-year-old limestone sarcophagus, exposing - for the first time since it was sealed in antiquity - a perfectly preserved mummy. The find dates back to 640 B.C., or the 26th Dynasty - Egypt’s last independent kingdom before a succession of foreign conquerors.
The mummy, wrapped in dark-stained canvas, is part of Egypt’s latest archaeological discovery of a burial chamber 36 feet below ground at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, about 12 miles south of Cairo.

Egypt’s archaeology Chief Zahi Hawass has dubbed it a
“storeroom for mummies,” because it houses eight wooden and limestone sarcophagi as well as at least two dozen mummies, most of them badly decomposed, showing only skulls and parts of skeletons, with decayed mummy wrappings.

Hawass plans to scan the mummy soon, a complicated process that requires the mummy to be removed from the tomb. He believes there could be gold amulets inside meant to “help the deceased in the afterlife,” a common practice in pharaonic times.

The storeroom was found a few hundred meters away from Saqqara’s two most prominent pyramids - the famous Step Pyramid of King Djoser and that of Unas, the last king of the 5th Dynasty.

The find reflected the fact that the area was used for burials in both the Old Kingdom and 2,000 years later when these mummies were buried and the important as it shows much of the sprawling site at Saqqara has yet to be unearthed.

 
Mar
21
 
 Empowering Hospitality Women
 HR Magazine
The Egyptian Tourism Federation, with its Chairman Ahmed El Nahas, hosted an executive brunch titled “Empowering Hospitality Women”. Held at the Hotel Longchamps in Zamalek, Egypt, the brunch was targeting women working in various ranks within the hospitality industry, from an executive with years of experience to a new comer aspiring to have leadership responsibilities in the future.

It provided a networking platform to get to know each other, share challenges and opportunities, and to promote the Cornell University and eCornell programs as an ideal academic qualification for career progression.

This event marks the start of an Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) Program, under the auspices of H.E. Zoheir Garana, Minister of Tourism, focusing on career and business development for hospitality professionals in Egypt and the region.

The various speakers talked of a wide variety of subjects related to women in the workplace – particularly in hospitality and foodservice industries, and how they can work together to increase the statistics of females working in the industry.

First Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zaazou, reflected “ I attribute where I am today to the help of women. Together we need to do what we can to further enable women to work in this industry and I encourage each and every one of you to get in contact with the Federation and the Ministry of Tourism and let us know your needs.”

Providing the perfect atmosphere to mingle over brunch, the event proved to be a success with women delighted at the chance to network, share personal experiences and talk about obstacles and achievements in their working lives.

 
Mar
21
 
Ramses Hilton the 1st hotel in Egypt to receive HACCP Certificate.
The Ramses Hilton Team is one of the first hotels in Egypt to achieve the important HACCP certification.

The HACCP concept (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) was originally devised to provide the ultimate levels of food and water safety for astronauts during their missions into space in the 1970s and has since gone on to become one of the most highly regarded endorsements of food and water safety throughout many hotels worldwide.

This award certifies the high standards and best practices that Ramses Hilton constantly seek to achieve. An
internationally recognized qualification such as this can significantly assist the hotel to attract business and also support the development of tourism in Egypt generally.

 
Mar
21
 
Rezidor appoints new Middle East area Vice President
 HR Magazine
Marko Hytonen has taken the reins as Rezidor Hotel Group’s new Area Vice President for the Middle East and Egypt, and replaces Jean-Marc Busato, who has been appointed President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific for Carlson Hotels Worldwide - Rezidor’s parent company based in the USA.

In his new role Hytonen will be responsible for the management
and development of all the group’s revenue streams throughout the region, its future hotel openings, staff recruitment and retention and the quality and performance of all properties across the company’s current and new-to-market brands, which include Radisson SAS, Park Inn, Missoni and Regent.

Hytonen said: ‘The Middle East is one of the most dynamic and vibrant hospitality markets in the world, and will continue to remain a core focus for us going forward.

Our commitment to this region is evidenced by the addition of new hotels throughout the Middle East as well as the entry of both the Park Inn and Missoni brands over the next 12 months.’

Hytonen joined Rezidor - one of the world’s fastest growing hotel companies - in 1991 and has since held General Manager’s positions in Norway, Russia, Oman and South Africa.

In 2004, he was appointed General Manager of the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel in St. Petersburg and Area Vice President for Russia, Baltics and Turkey.

In June 2006, Hytonen moved to the group’s Corporate Office in Brussels and took over the responsibility for Future Openings and Corporate Food & Beverage as Corporate Vice President.

As the company continued to grow, the Future Openings and Food & Beverage department split into two separate departments of which Hytonen continued the leadership and focus on the Food & Beverage area - a position he held until his move to the Middle East.

 
Mar
21
 
Miss Belgium beauty at Sunrise Mamlouk Palace
 HR Magazine
At the beginning of Februry 2009 Hurghada hosted Miss Belguim beauty, an event organized and prepared by SUNRISE Resorts and Cruises company and Bright Sky Travel. The twenty attendants spent marvolous and wonderful days & nights in Hurghada.
In addition to enjoying leisure and fun at the fabulous scenery of the SUNRISE Mamlouk Palace during their stay while preparing themselves for the final election, they had a karoake night in the Victoria Pub of the SUNRISE Mamlouk Palace, then went for a trip to the beautiful Mahmya Island and participated in a desert evening show and galabija party at the Sahara Sunset location.

 
Mar
21
 
Blood Donation for GAZA’s War
 HR Magazine
As part of its ‘Spirit To Serve Our Communities’ activities, Marriott Red Sea Resorts, Egypt organized a blood donation campaign in 4 Resorts: Sharm El Sheikh Marriott, Renaissance Golden View Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada Marriott and Taba Marriott. Over
300 associates participated and were pleased to give blood to community members in need; part of the blood will be delivered to Gaza as a Marriott Red Sea Resorts contribution.

Thanking the Egyptian Red Crescent for their support, General Managers, expressed their satisfaction over the response from the associates to this social event, “As a responsible company, the Marriott Red Sea Resorts are organizing various activities and contributing to various causes to fulfill its duty towards the community. People should always support noble causes such as blood donations.’’ Said Mr. Sherif Osman, Director of Marketing, Marriott Red Sea Resorts.

 
Mar
21
 
 Celebrating success!
 HR Magazine
Steigenberger Al Dau Resort celebrated the success of 2008 during its annual staff party and looks optimistically towards the future. The annual event, which was attended by all staff was a joyous affair, with live traditional music and belly dancer, and
cookies and cake served. There was also a tombola, with something to be won by everyone, including electronic gadgets and household appliances.

During his speech the chairman of the group company, Steigenberger Middle East Hotels and Resorts, Eng. Bassel Sami Saad, expressed his appreciation for the hard work and great effort extended by everyone.

 
Mar
21
 
 ‘Knit one, Save one’ campaign
 HR Magazine
Conrad Cairo has recently sponsored Save The Children UK ‘Knit one, Save one’ campaign in Egypt, as a part of its global campaign on child survival. The ‘knit one, Save one’ initiative aims to provide a low cost, high impact initiative and contributes to the efforts of the Egyptian Government and the Ministry of Health and Population.

The event was organized by Save the Children and its
partner the USAID funded project Takamol, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Population.

‘In these difficult financial times that we are facing, Conrad Cairo takes its Social Corporate Responsibility seriously especially in a local environment, we are delighted to be associated with this cause,’ states Kevin Brett, General Manager, Conrad Cairo.

 
Mar
21
 
 BAT, South Sinai Governorate sign MoU focusing on public place smoking
British American Tobacco, Egypt (BAT), together with the South Sinai Governorate, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at providing hotel, restaurant and café patrons in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh with designated non-smoking and smoking areas.
Developed under the framework of BAT’s global ‘Respecting Choices’ initiative and in partnership with the South Sinai Governorate, the campaign will see some 200 hospitality staff in the city trained in the proper procedures regarding public place smoking, including ventilation methods and area designation.

Through the project, clear signage will be available in outlets directing both non-smokers and smokers to their respective areas. Staff will also undergo a comprehensive training session, in order to ensure that they are able to understand the policies, explain them and properly enforce them.

 
Mar
21
 
Thomas Cook “German travel games”
HR Magazine
Egypt has hosted the Thomas Cook “German travel games” event last December 2008. The event, which took place in both SUNRISE Select Garden Beach & SUNRISE Select Mamlouk Palace Resorts Hurghada, included 700 Thomas Cook sales representatives and retailers.
The 700 participants attended a workshop in which Egypt, Hurghada and SUNRISE properties were presented and promoted. After the workshop they visited Hurghada and some of the most attractive locations near the town.

A very special program was prepared for them to spend marvelous and wonderful nights during their stay and to feel the atmosphere guests feel when spending their holidays in SUNRISE Hotels & Resorts..

The attendees were very impressed by the service and the warm hospitality shown by the team of SUNRISE Resorts & Cruises. During the final party Mr. Philippe De Vizcaya, SUNRISE Managing Director, expressed his pleasure for hosting this great event. He assured the Thomas Cook sales representatives and retailers who attended the event “that SUNRISE warm, unparalleled hospitality combined with superior gastronomy, is exactly what SUNRISE clients will always receive”

 
Mar
21
 
 Madinat Makadi Open 2009
 HR Magazine
From 8th to 12th April 2009, Madinat Makadi Golf Resort will host the Madinat Makadi Open 2009 Golf Tournament.

A maximum of 80 participants will be accepted and teams should be of four players. The 80 places will be shared among members of Egyptian Golf Clubs, guests of Madinat Makadi Hotels, guests of El Gouna and Cascades Golf Resorts and residents in Egypt. The Open-Tournament will be named “Madinat Makadi Founders CUP” and will be held in future as the yearly “Challenge Cup” at Madinat Makadi.

The gross winner of the stroke play will keep the “challenge cup trophy” for one year and receive a green card for the next “Madinat Makadi Founders Cup 2010”.

 
Mar
21
 
Intercontinental Hotels Group - New Director of Sales
 HR Magazine
Natalie Nasser will oversee the region’s contribution to global sales while providing support for the sales function of individual properties under all brands within the group’s portfolio.

She will be onboard as Director of Sales for Middle East and Africa, a region in which the presence of InterContinental Hotels continues to grow stronger.
Mrs. Nasser brings 10 years of experience in tourism to her post at IHG, having worked with international hoteliers and tour operators. With a Masters degree in Law, Nasser began her career in tourism in the UK, before she moved to Egypt where she spent 11 years building valuable regional knowledge, which then lead her to the United Arab Emirates.

 
Mar
21
 
Marriott eyes 31 more hotels in MENA
HR Magazine
Marriott International has announced its global expansions till 2014 would include 17 new properties in the UAE, nine in Saudi Arabia, three in Qatar, one in Bahrain, and one in Egypt.
The company expects nearly 600,000 rooms by year-end 2009. Other hotels in the pipeline include one in Algeria, 19 in China, 23 in India, 8 in Thailand, 5 in the Caribbean and Latin America, 5 in France, 6 in the UK and 6 in Mexico.

 
Mar
21
 
 American tourism to Egypt increases
 HR Magazine
American Tourism to Egypt showed a dramatic increase of arrivals in 2008 over the previous year according to an announcement made by the Hon. Zoheir Garana, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism. “We had 319,000 thousand visitors from the US last year, representing a 17% increase.”

Egypt is optimistic that despite the challenging economic climate, this growth will continue because we have an excellent, diverse, high quality tourism product that offers Americans great value for the dollar. Much of this optimism is supported by US-based tour operators. In these times when many Americans are cutting back on travel, the real bright spot is Egypt which has enjoyed growth while other destinations have had declines.

Furthermore, as a result of the American Tourism Society (ATS) conference, some of the members who had never been to Egypt before were so impressed with the quality of the tourism experience there, that they are now including Egypt in their tour programs.

According to attendees at the ATS conference, an increase in traffic in 2009 is expected despite the economic climate.

 
FEB
09
 
 The Green Mirage of Sharm el Sheikh
HR Magazine
Last year, according to the Egyptian Tourism Authority, over 4 million visitors flew into resort-laden Sharm El-Sheikh to relax at energy-hungry hotels. But luxuries like fresh towels and hour-long flights from Cairo have a price that goes beyond credit card bills. These vacation indulgences are responsible for pumping millions of tons of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. This is something the Ministry of Tourism plans to change.

In an effort to rebrand the city and foster the untapped market in ecotourism, Tourism Minister Zoheir Garrannah announced plans last November 2008 to turn Sharm El-Sheikh into Egypt’s first carbon neutral destination, meaning that its net output of carbon dioxide will be zero.

“With ecotourism now being the fastest growing market, consumers calculating how many cubic meters of CO2 emissions they contribute when they fly from New York to Cairo and the world’s natural eco-balance in danger, the reality of the matter is that we do not have the luxury to lag behind,” he told delegates at a November conference hosted by the ministry and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Ecotourism is commonly defined as travel that has a low impact on the environment. George Atalla, director of Booz & Co. Egypt, a business consultancy firm, says his company’s research shows ecotourism currently represents 4% of the global tourism market and that the percentage of eco-tourists is forecasted to grow to 10% in the next few years. The company is conducting the feasibility study for Sharm El-Sheikh that will begin this year, as soon as it gets the go-ahead from the government.

Re-branding the city may have a positive effect on an industry expected to be hit hard by the global financial crisis, said Garrannah at the conference, which brought together tourism industry professionals in the region to discuss their response to fallout from the world economic slowdown that is already having negative effects on tourism across the globe.

 
FEB
09
 
Rezidor Hotel Group expands presence in Egypt – New opening of Radisson SAS in Alexandria
The Rezidor Hotel Group is to launch its fifth property in Egypt with the opening of the Radisson Alexandria in the first quarter of 2009. With its impressive steel and glass domed facade, the new Radisson SAS Hotel in Alexandria is sure to make an architectural mark on the city. The hotel will be located in the new development area called Alex West, just 15 minutes away from Alexandria's city centre and 35 minutes from the Airport.

The Radisson SAS Hotel in Alexandria will consist of apartments, townhouses, villas, three hotels in total, a conference centre, restaurants, a shopping mall and an
18-hole-golf course, a business centre, an executive lounge and two meeting rooms. It will include a number of dining venues, a health club with outdoor pool, retail outlets and a golf clubhouse. It will be the ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers.

Rezidor president and chief executive officer Kurt Ritter said: “Egypt is a raising market where Rezidor is already present with business and resort hotels. We are glad to arrive in Alexandria now – known as the “second capital” of the country and being a major seaport on the Mediterranean Sea.”

Situated in the new suburb, Alex West, the hotel is within walking distance of excellent shopping, cafes, restaurants and lively night life. It offers 251 spacious, newly constructed guest rooms, each equipped with a walk-in shower and bathtub. Overlooking an 18-hole golf course, the hotel is the perfect base for avid golfers who, after a round of golf, will enjoy a refreshing bite at the “Hole in One - Golf Lounge”. Two outdoor pools along with several poolside restaurants promise to be the perfect place to relax and soak in the sun. Moreover, guests can access the fully-equipped fitness centre complete with Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and wellness area

The hotel will provide extensive conferencing facilities which can accommodate up to 7,000 people

 
FEB
09
 
Sawiris to hold building projects
HR Magazine
Due to the global recession, Samih Sawiris' Orascom Development Holding AG will scale back building work in Oman and Egypt.

Construction of a resort on the coast of Montenegro will not begin for another two to three years, Sawiris said in an interview. Sawris controls 60 per cent in the company.

"There is a slowdown in demand," said Sawiris. "It's not dramatic, but it's across the board. A 24-month decline in sales of real estate and vacations is a fairly accurate assumption.

Demand for property in Orascom's El Gouna resort on Egypt’s Red Sea coast has fallen by 40 per cent as banks tighten lending. The slump also hampered Sawiris' plans for an alpine resort with six hotels, condominiums and villas for wealthy skiers between the Swiss towns of Davos and Zermatt. In Andermatt, 130km from Zurich, Orascom will start with two or three hotels, less than initially planned, he said.

Sawiris said he hopes to complete contracts to develop 6.5 million square meters of land on the coast of Montenegro before April. Construction in the country, which borders Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, will not start until 2011 or 2012, he said.

 
FEB
09
 
 Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts to change their name to Radisson Blu
Radisson SAS, one of the world's most innovative, fast growing, contemporary hotel brands, is changing its name to Radisson Blu.

Radisson SAS was created in 1994 when SAS International Hotels (SIH) joined forces with the Radisson brand for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The resultant new, highly individual hotel brand grew rapidly and won a world class reputation for innovation, design and service concepts.

The name change was announced today, Wednesday 4 February 2009, at the Grand Opening party of the first Radisson Blu: the stunning Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport. Rezidor President and CEO, Kurt Ritter, said: "We're extremely proud to hoist the Radisson Blu flag. After many, very successful years with SAS, we are eager to start cruising high on our own. And we'll fly the flag in an ever growing number of destinations."

Radisson Blu's Senior Vice President and COO, Thorsten Kirschke, explained that the change from SAS to Blu will be a gentle evolution through into 2010. "We currently have more than 200 hotels in operation or under development, so the name change has been designed in such a way that it'll avoid any unnecessary disruption but still create an impact."

Meanwhile Gordon McKinnon, Rezidor's Executive Vice President of Brands, revealed that “The name Blu started life as the project's working title. But it soon became apparent that it was actually the most natural of choices. It's simple, it's short, it's relevant and we've applied it in a way that adds a certain modernity to the identity without taking it too far".

"Most importantly it also promotes our specific brand heritage by preserving the graphic 'blue box' which has become the recognised symbol of the distinctive characteristics of the Radisson brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Radisson Blu preserves the continuity of our unique brand, while taking it that one essential step forward to more accurately represent its true position and future ambitions."

These ambitions were today summarised by Kurt Ritter: "As Radisson Blu, we aim to become the fastest growing, most innovative and dynamic, upper upscale hotel brand in the world."

 
jan
09
 
His Excellency the Minister of Communication and Information Technology enjoys a stay at the Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel.
The leading 5 star hotel in Hurghada, the Steigenberger
Al Dau Beach Hotel, recently hosted his Excellency the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Dr. Tarek Mohamed Kamel Mahmoud, during his stay in Hurghada.

Mr. Lars Geweyer, General Manager Steigenberger Al Dau
Beach Hotel, warmly welcomed Dr. Mahmoud on this occasion.

 
jan
09
 
“Golf par excellence” at this Red Sea Resort
 HR Magazine
16 curious golf journalists from Germany who visited Madinat Makadi last December for a three day stay, made a unreserved judgment about the new golf course with the comment: ‘From the design, standard and challenge of the course and considering it is not yet completely grown-in, this is the best we have seen in Egypt until now’. They
had already played on several golf courses around Cairo and the Red Sea.

This is a good and positive ‘Omen’ for the new golf destination and the development of golf resorts on the Red Sea. The indicated standard comparison to well known golf courses in Spain, Portugal and even the USA was to use our experience to build a superior course. Meanwhile numerous golfers who have already played the course step by step in 2008 share this assessment.

Golf for everybody” the motto at Madinat Makadi

The generous practice area of the resort is unique in Egypt. The driving range has three t-off areas with a total of 100 t-boxes for golf lessons and clinics. It is equipped with target bunkers and greens. On three complete championship practice holes (Par3/4/5) beginners can learn to play on real golf holes and meet all the characteristics of golf play before they can prove their sportsmanship on the 9-hole Par 3 Executive course. Our experienced golf professionals offer courses ranging from beginner to advanced and can also provide individual coaching.

18 Hole Championship Course – a great challenge
With a length of 6880 m/7500 yards Madinat Makadi’s golf course is the longest in Egypt. On one hand is not easy to play but on the other hand the six t-boxes on every hole will give added enjoyment for those with higher handicaps. The championship course will surely reach a CR/Slope between 142 and 144.

Three artificial lakes surrounded by flowers and local plants on the front nine holes are a treat for one’s eyes but also a great challenge in golf play. From the twelfth hole the golfer can enjoy the fantastic view of the dark blue Red Sea. The last nine holes are predominated by a desert landscape interrupted by full green fairways, tees and greens.

All in all the assessment of this championship course is: “challenging and difficult but fair”

 
jan
09
 
Great success for the 1st International Marathon in El Gouna
On December 2nd and 3rd, 2008, under the Patronage of the first Lady of Egypt, Mrs. Susanne Mubarak, the First International Marathon in Egypt and Africa took place in El Gouna. The nice climate around 25 degrees with plenty of sunshine, the fascinating desert and mountain landscape
ensured a wonderful time during the marathon to all participants and guests.

Three more races (5k, 10k, and Half marathon) have been added to the traditional Marathon and 443 runners in total participated at the races. Participants of Egypt included also school children and students who gave the event a special taste and hope for the future. The runners from Kenya, as it often happens in many marathons, won all the races.

All races were made of mixed landscapes such us desert, gardens, streets, bridges, lakes, sea and living areas with buildings, hotels, shops and small markets.

Three food and drinks stands and additional two drinks stands have been provided throughout the route. At the food stations isotonic drinks, mineral water, tea, bananas and energy bars were available.

Medical aid was taken over by Swiss and Egyptian Doctors and nurses from the El Gouna Hospital with three ambulance cars along the race distance. Free massage service were available after the race for all participants.

The event was followed by journalists from Europe and Egypt and the Egyptian TV - Nile TV - came to cover it.

The 1st International Marathon in el Gouna has been a great success and a highly motivated and well matching team is already working on 2009 edition. The 2nd International Marathon in El Gouna will take place on December 11th and 12th, 2009. During the event a new Charity race will be held and maybe handicapped runners should also participate.

 
jan
09
 
First female only hotel in Middle East launched
 HR Magazine
The Middle-East’s first women only hotel, the Luthan Hotel and Spa, has opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 25 room hotel offers female only guests 150 types of spa treatments as well as fine dining and conference facilities.

Saudi Arabia applies the religious doctrine of Islam known as Wahhabism, which strictly enforces the separation of sexes in public. Women in the kingdom are prohibited from
mixing with men other than relatives and are forced to covered from head to toe.

 
Jan
09
 
 Conrad Cairo picks up Green Globe status
 HR Magazine
The Conrad Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, has been awarded Green Globe Certified Gold status for its commitment to operating at high environmental standards.

The Hotel was given the award for a multitude of environmental management policies and practices including appointing members of staff to monitor waste, energy and water consumption; training staff in environmental awareness and replacing the electric swimming pool heating system with a steam system.

 
Jan
09
 
 Egypt tourism ministry confirms growth in 2009 and  announces measures to bolster tourism
Despite the global financial crisis, with hotel bookings down 30 percent in January 2009 compared to the same month in 2008 and the continued unrest in the Middle East reignited by the escalated tension between Israel and Palestine, Egypt’s tourism is expected to grow further this year 2009. Although bordering Gaza, now a blood-soaked battle zone in the Palestinian Territory, Egypt’s Rafah crossing maintains some order in the midst of the ongoing fighting.

After all, Egypt is supposed to act as the peace broker - promoting negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Egyptian Tourism Minister Zoheir Garranah confirmed peace and order on the Arab republic’s border with Gaza.

Moreover, Egypt will exempt hotels from paying contributions to the country's tourism promotion authority and will cut fees paid by charter flights to help its tourism industry cope with the global financial crisis. "The minister (of tourism Zoheir Garrana) has agreed to exempt hotel establishments from tourism promotion fees which the ministry collects from the hotels to lessen their burdens during the financial crisis," state news agency MENA quoted Assistant Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou as saying.

MENA said the ministry of tourism would also set up a working group to deal with the fallout of the crisis, with measures being reviewed and changed every three months.

Zaazou added Egypt's aviation minister had agreed to reduce landing and take-off fees, as well as ground handling fees for charter flights, and waive them entirely for charter flights that make 11 trips to designated destinations in the span of three months.

The ministry would also change its broadcast advertisement campaigns to focus on promoting Egypt as an affordable holiday destination.

 
jan
09
 
 Rezidor expands presence in Egypt
 HR Magazine
The Rezidor Hotel Group is to launch its fifth property in Egypt with the opening of the Radisson Alexandria in 2009. The 270-room hotel will be located in Alex West, a new suburb 10 minutes west of Alexandria City, comprising apartments, townhouses, villas, three hotels in total, a conference centre, restaurants, a shopping mall and an 18-hole-golf course.

It will include a number of dining venues, a health club with outdoor pool, retail outlets and a golf clubhouse. The hotel will offer a business centre, an executive lounge and two meeting rooms. Rezidor president and chief executive officer Kurt Ritter said: “Egypt is a raising market where Rezidor is already present with business and resort hotels. We are glad to arrive in Alexandria now – known as the “second capital” of the country and being a major seaport on the Mediterranean Sea.”

 
jan
09
 
UAE banks face worsening loan quality as house prices fall
HR Magazine
United Arab Emirates-based banks may face worsening loan quality as the region’s slowing real-estate market increases the prospects of developers defaulting, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
“Moody’s is mainly concerned about the loans to ‘opportunistic’ developers that have been extended over the past four to five years,” John Tofarides, a Dubai-based Moody’s analyst said in a report released today. “These factors will negatively affect the credit environment over the next 12 to 18 months.”

Small and medium-sized real-estate developers in the UAE are being hurt as home sales fall, making it harder for them to repay loans. Banks are also cutting lending, which is weighing on property values, bringing the fourfold increase in residential real-estate prices over the last five years to an end. Dubai house prices dropped 8% in the fourth quarter from the prior three months, Colliers CRE said yesterday.

Moody’s Investors Service on 16 December cut the outlook on four UAE banks, Dubai Islamic Bank, Dubai Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and First Gulf Bank, citing “mounting liquidity pressures and growing downward pressures on asset prices.”

Liquidity constraints, the equity price collapse, and the sharp decline in oil prices will significantly weaken the UAE's fiscal surplus and real economic growth in
2009, Moody’s said in today’s report.

 
Jan
09
 
 Steigenberger adds five-star hotel in Egypt
 HR Magazine
The Steigenberger Hotel Group has expanded its presence in Egypt by adding Nile Palace Hotel to its portfolio. Located in the heart of Luxor, 302-room hotel includes three restaurants as well as two cafés and three bars, including a pool bar.

Sporting facilities include a heated outdoor pool, a tennis court and a Fitness and Wellness area. The hotel’s own ballroom, the largest in Luxor, and the four conference rooms can hold more than 1,000 people. With the new Steigenberger Hotel Nile Palace the Steigenberger Hotel Group is expanding its Egyptian range of hotels through its subsidiary Steigenberger Middle East Hotels & Resorts. The company has been here since the Steigenberger Golf Resort opened in El Gouna in 1999.

 
jan
09
 
Ritz-Carlton to operate Egypt hotel
 HR Magazine
Egyptian real estate developer Palm Hills Developments has signed an agreement with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to develop a luxury hotel and golf club. Ritz-Carlton will run a 140-room hotel, golf course and golf clubhouse at the Palm Hills Golf Club and Resort in Sixth of October City. The hotel will overlook the Pyramids of Giza, and a 27-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

 
Nov
08
 
Expiration of Management Contract with Conrad Sharm El Sheikh
Wings Hotels, Resorts S.A.E. and Conrad Hotels & Resorts have confirmed that effective 31 December 2008 the 'Conrad Sharm El Sheikh Resort' will be operated by Coral Sea Resorts for Hotels Management SAE. On 1 November 2008 the resort will be re-named the 'Coral Sea Imperial Resort' and all contracts and agreements made by Conrad Hotels & Resorts will continue to be honoured.

Wings Hotels, Resorts S.A.E. and Conrad Hotels & Resorts have enjoyed a successful 10 year relationship in the Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh and this decision has been reached as Wings Hotels, Resorts S.A.E. expands its hotel management interests and Conrad Hotels & Resorts further develops its luxury positioning around the world.

 
SEP
08
 
 Green Star Hotels
 HR Magazine
In the meantime El Gouna plays an important role in the development of the Green Star Hotel Initiative, a project in which the German Company AGEG consultants eG and Orascom hotels & development OHD have joined forces to improve standards by implementing an environmentally and economically sustainable management system in the hotel industry in Egypt.
The immediate goals of the Green Star Hotel label within El Gouna are to improve the town’s overall environmental performance by reducing water and energy consumption and waste generation of its hotels. After the successful test implementation of the Green Star Hotel label in March 2008 in three pilot hotels in El Gouna the Initiative invited all El Gouna hotels to attend the official introduction of the label on May 29th, 2008. Around 20 participants from ten El Gouna hotels, among them representatives of The Three Corners Hotels Rihana Resort & Inn and Ocedan View Hotel, took part.

In October 2008, the pilot certification of the El Gouna hotels will take place. Each hotel will be assessed by an audit team. The experts will not only verify the required documentation such as the monitoring of energy and water consumption but will also conduct on-site inspections.

 
SEP
08
 
 Ocean View has a green heart
 HR Magazine
The Thomas Cook Group commissioned a Travelife auditor to complete a Travelife Sustainability audit on Ocean View Hotel in El Gouna. The result, the highest award in the Travelife ranking, is a real success for the hotel management. "Travelife Gold" hotels are leading the way
with cutting edge practice in environmental management and community support.

Travelife is supported by major European Tour Operator Associations and their members including the UK Federation of Tour Operators (FTO), the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators ANVR and the German Forumandersreisen FAR. Some of the Tour Operators belonging to these associations are already using the Travelife logos on their websites and in their brochures.

 
SEP
08
 
 Galal Hamdy new General Manager of Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort in Egypt
Hilton Hotels has announced the appointment of Galal Hamdy as the new General Manager of Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort in Sharm El-Sheikh. Mahmoud Mokhtar, Country Manager, Operations, Hilton Hotels in Egypt, commented: 'The Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort is an extremely popular property with its spectacular landscape and proximity to a wide variety of attractions and
abundance of holiday activities. We could think of no one more qualified than Galal for this all-important position.'

Hamdy brings a wealth experience of 28 years as a Hilton veteran, where he has achieved formidable results throughout his career, especially at Hilton Borg El-Arab resort where he was assigned first as Resident Manager in April 2005, and then as General Manager the following year. His vast experience will be an asset to the Hilton brand in the highly competitive Red Sea and South Sinai market, where Hilton enjoys a competitive edge with resorts in Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba.

 
AUG
08
 
Hilton Hotels Corporation appoints new Country Manager for Egypt
Hilton Hotels Corporation has announced the appointment and promotion of Mahmoud Mokhtar to Country Manager, Operations for the Hilton Family in Egypt. Previously Mokhtar, who hails from Alexandria, was General Manager of the Ramses Hilton in Cairo. With over two decades of international and local experience as a distinguished
hotelier, Mokhtar has held highly successful stints with numerous hotel chains.

He joined Hilton in 1996, as Executive Assistant Manager for Hilton Fayrouz Resort in Sharm El Sheikh. He was then promoted to General Manager for Hilton Nuweiba, followed by Hilton Al Ain in the U.A.E, and Cluster General Manager for all three Hilton hotels in Hurghada. He also opened Hilton Borg El Arab Resort in Alexandria, and Hilton Fiji Beach Resort in the South Pacific.

Jean-Paul Herzog, President of Hilton Hotels, Middle East & Africa commented: 'Egypt is a key market for us, not only because we are the largest hotel operator in the country, but thanks to a number of development opportunities. Mahmoud's promotion is instrumental in maintaining our competitive edge, and driving this growth. At Hilton, we strive to promote internally, and Mahmoud's experience both locally and internationally is an asset to our business.'

A key priority for Mokhtar will be to drive the renovation and upgrade of the 18-strong Hilton and Conrad portfolio to ensure the highest quality and guest satisfaction standards.

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