23 May 2017

People & Places

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, toured ATM, the Middle East’s leading travel and tourism event as it celebrated 24 years of industry milestones last month. Sheikh Mohammed was joined by dignitaries including Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman and CEO of the Emirates Group; and Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Rotana signed a management agreement with Golden Group Holding (GGH), for a new 250-key hotel project in the Omani capital city of Muscat, set to open by 2020. The agreement was signed by Nasser Al Nowais, chairman of Rotana, and Sheikh Salim bin Ahmed Al Ghazali, chairman of Golden Group Holding, at a ceremony held on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market.  The new hotel will be named Al Mouj Rayhaan by Rotana.


Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has expanded its footprint in Pakistan after finalising an agreement to operate its third property in the country. The Swiss hospitality firm has signed a deal with the Orient Group of Companies to manage the 310-key Mövenpick Hotel & Apartments Lahore, part of a new mixed-used development the government has earmarked as the city’s new commercial hub. Set to be one of the tallest buildings in Pakistan when it opens in 2021, the property will feature 260 rooms and 50 serviced apartments; five restaurants and lounges; 1,500 sq m of meeting and event space, including a large ballroom; a 700-sq-m spa and fitness area; and a kids’ club and business centre. Andreas Mattmuller, COO Middle East and Africa, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts and Mian Ahmad Fazal, executive director of Orient Group of Companies, sign the deal as senior Mövenpick executives look on.

MTS Globe, the leading European destination management and hotel trading company, and the Dubai-based destination management company Desert Gate have announced that MTS Globe has become an equal partner in Desert Gate. With this partnership, Samir Tabbah also becomes an official member of the MTS Globe Partner Network and shareholder in the OTS Holding.


Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been rewarded for its environmental protection strategy, by successfully reaching Level 3 ‘Optimisation’ status in the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. It is the first airport in the GCC and only the second in the Middle East and Northern Africa region to reach the Level 3 standing. The certification was awarded to Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, chief operating officer of Hamad International Airport.


Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, has partnered with VFS Global, the largest visa service provider in the world, to facilitate visa issuance for passengers flying to the Kingdom of Bahrain. The online visa facility will launch this summer on gulfair.com. Gulf Air chief commercial officer, Ahmed Janahi, and Vinay Malhotra, chief operating officer – Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global. The online e-visa platform will make visa application easier.


On the sidelines of ATM, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) announced the Mleiha Desert Resort, the first five-star desert resort in the heart of Mleiha. It has signed a memorandum of understanding with Al Wanis, Qatari tourism company established in Sharjah, to develop the Dh60 million ($16.4 million) project. 

Sheikh Mubarak A M Al Sabah, founder and chairman of Action Hotels was honoured by the region’s hospitality sector with the signature Industry Pioneer award presented by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC 2017) in Dubai last month. The company’s portfolio currently consists of 2,181 rooms in 12 operating hotels, of which nine are in the Middle East and three in Australia. The pipeline comprises a further six hotels, which will bring the portfolio to 18 hotels with over 3,100 rooms in eight countries by 2018.

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