Monday 30 September 2019

NEPAL: Dusit Princess Hotel Kathmandu To Open 2020

Operating under Dusit’s upper-midscale Dusit Princess brand, the new hotel will comprise 108 well-appointed guest rooms in a prime location in the capital’s vibrant Lazimpat neighbourhood.

The area is home to various international institutions and is just a short walk from the bustling eateries and shops of Thamel.

Dusit International a hotel and property development companies, has signed an agreement with Hotel Lhasa International Pvt. Ltd. to develop and operate Dusit Princess Kathmandu, Nepal the second Dusit-branded hotel set to open in Nepal in 2020.

Operating under Dusit’s upper-midscale Dusit Princess brand, the new hotel will comprise 108 well-appointed guest rooms in a prime location in the capital’s vibrant Lazimpat neighbourhood.

The area is home to various international institutions and is just a short walk from the bustling eateries and shops of Thamel.

Tribhuvan International Airport and major cultural attractions such as Kathmandu Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, and Swayambhunath Stupa can be reached in 20 minutes by car.

Designed to meet the needs of business and leisure travellers alike, hotel facilities will include an outdoor swimming pool and pool bar, a rooftop lounge-bar, a fully equipped fitness centre, a spa, and meeting facilities.

An all-day dining restaurant will serve daily buffet breakfast plus a variety of international and local cuisines.

In keeping with the Dusit Princess brand, each room will feature high-quality beds, a cosy bathroom, modern amenities, and a contemporary design reflecting local style and culture to provide high levels of comfort and convenience.

We are delighted to partner with Hotel Lhasa International Pvt. Ltd. to bring our unique brand of Thai-inspired gracious hospitality to Kathmandu for the first time, said Mr Lim Boon Kwee, Chief Operating Officer, Dusit International.

Surrounded by popular cultural attractions, centuries-old religious sites, several embassies and major businesses, Dusit Princess Kathmandu is perfectly positioned to link guests with everything this fascinating city has to offer.

We now look forward to delivering a hotel experience that delights on all fronts while providing sustainable value to all our stakeholders.

Mr Dorje Gyaltsen Lama, Managing Director, Hotel Lhasa International Pvt. Ltd., said, Nepal welcomed more than 1.1 million tourists in 2018 – up 25% YOY – and the country’s tourism industry just keeps going from strength to strength.

To capture this fast-growing market, we were determined to find a distinctive partner with international experience, a track record for excellence, and a commitment to having a positive local impact.

We are delighted Dusit is that partner, and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship together.

Dusit International’s property portfolio now comprises 271 properties - nine owned and 262 managed operating under six brands across 13 countries.

The company has more than 50-Dusit branded hotels in the pipeline and expects to open at least 10-12 hotels per year in key destinations from 2020 onwards.

Dusit Princess Kathmandu, Nepal is the second property Dusit International has signed to operate in Nepal.

Dusit Thani Himalayan Resort & Spa, a luxury mountaintop resort in Nepal’s central region, is slated to open in Q1 2021 under a hotel management agreement.

Tourism Observer

ROMANIA: Radisson Blu Hotel Cluj-Napoca To Open Spring 2021

Slated for spring 2021 opening, the property will build on Radisson Blu’s leading position as the largest upper upscale hotel brand in Europe – a portfolio that includes the renowned Radisson Blu Hotel, Bucharest, one of the top hotels in the country.

Radisson Hotel Group announced the signing of its fourth Radisson Blu property in Romania, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cluj-Napoca – based in the regional capital of Transylvania.

Attracting more than 600,000 visitors each year, the city of Cluj-Napoca is growing in popularity as a leisure and business destination. Tourists are drawn to what was once a center of commerce in Ancient Roman times, exploring its historic landmarks and architecture.

Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group, said: Radisson Blu remains the largest player in the upper-upscale segment across Europe. We look forward to a successful journey with our partners based on trust and responsibility.

Nina Moldovan, President of the Board and representative of the investor Winners Park Invest, said: We are excited to partner with Radisson Hotel Group, one of the leading players in the hospitality industry. We have looked for a brand that recognizes and is able to respond to the needs of the business and leisure clients in our region, and we are proud to have found such an ideal partner.

Cluj-Napoca is a destination that has a lot to offer we are looking forward to opening our doors to everyone looking for a meaningful experience here very soon.

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Cluj-Napoca will feature 149 guestrooms, with a mix of standard, executive, suite and VIP apartment room types for all travelers.

Leisure and dining facilities will include a fine specialty restaurant and a fitness room, while meeting and events guests will benefit from hi-tech conference rooms and a 350sqm ballroom for up to 300 guests.

The property will be centrally located in the historic center of the city, near the Cluj Arena Stadium.

The city is known for its artistic culture, fiery nightlife, great music and film festivals and bold architecture ranging from Romania’s second-largest Gothic church to baroque buildings and medieval towers.

The hotel will be easily accessible. Cluj-Napoca International Airport is located just 9 km away from the hotel, receiving direct flights from 48 European cities.

Tourism Observer

Sunday 29 September 2019

CHINA: Shama Serviced Apartments Zijingang Hangzhou Courtesy Of ONYX Hospitality

Located in the heart of West Hangzhou, Shama Serviced Apartments Zijingang Hangzhou offers both an urban vibe and a tranquil retreat in one of West Lake District’s most prestigious neighbourhoods.

Situated right above Yaojiang Wending International, the large-scale commercial complex development by Yaojiang Group, conveniently connected to the Sanba interchange metro station (line 2 and line 5) and a short ride away from Zhejiang University Zijingang Campus, Alibaba Headquarters, West Lake and Xixi Wetland.

Shama Serviced Apartments Zijingang Hangzhou is the perfect home not only for discerning professionals working in Hangzhou but also tourists visiting one of the most beautiful cities in China.

ONYX Hospitality Group launched Shama Serviced Apartments Zijingang Hangzhou, its second property in Hangzhou, offering yet another residential-style accommodation choice for guests to call home.

Comprising studios, lofts, one- and two-bedroom suites, all 384 units at Shama Serviced Apartments Zijingang Hangzhou are tastefully furnished with contemporary interiors and home-like comforts, meeting the unspoken expectations of savvy residents.

A comprehensive range of amenities and features within the units include fully-equipped kitchenettes, spacious living and work areas, premium bedding, separate shower and tubs, LED TVs with international channels, dual laundry washers and dryers, Wi-Fi internet access and electronic safes.

Guests staying at Shama Serviced Apartments Zijingang Hangzhou also enjoy housekeeping services, 24-hour security and concierge service, daily breakfast at Shama Kitchen and access to the in-house Shama Gym.

In addition, the property has a 60-square-metre meeting room and a 120-square-metre multifunction room for events and functions, which can comfortably accommodate up to 100 people.

As a lifestyle provider, Shama offers the signature no boundaries lifestyle programme, which helps guests become familiar with the local culture, lifestyle venues and amenities in the neighbourhood.

As well as meet new faces through regular tenant activities, ultimately fast-tracking their social lives in a new city and helping them live like a local.

Douglas Martell, President & CEO, ONYX Hospitality Group, said, Hangzhou is not only a beautiful city with picturesque scenery, historical richness and cultural significance, but also a world-class city with a strong digital economy and technical innovation.

Hangzhou is also one of the top ten Chinese cities within the trillion-yuan GDP list.

It is a great honour for us to introduce yet another Shama in this promising city, this time with Yaojiang Group, one of the top brands in the Zhejiang province.

With neighbours including some of China’s biggest technology companies and up-and-coming tech start-ups, as well as the Zijingang Campus of Zhejiang University, one of the most prestigious tertiary education institutions in China.

Shama Serviced Apartments Zijingang Hangzhou will surely be an ideal accommodation choice for both short and long-stay guests who seek a stylish yet home-like experience.

Shama is a leading and award winning provider of premium serviced apartments, with properties spanning from China to Thailand and Malaysia.

Last year, Shama was named the “Best Serviced Apartment Operator” at the Hong Kong Business High Flyers Awards 2018 and the “Best Serviced Apartment Operator of Asia” for the sixth time at the AHF Asia Hotel Awards 2018.

Tourism Observer

Friday 27 September 2019

INDIA: Air India Serves Meat To Vegetarian Passengers And Gets Fined

Air India was fined 40,000 rupees ($ 563) for serving food containing meat to a vegetarian couple. The state-run airline has been given 30 days to pay the fine after having received the order.

In case they fail to pay on time it will result in a 12% penalty.

Vegetarian Mr. Chandra Mohan Pathak said that he had booked return tickets for him and his wife to fly to Chicago on June 17, 2016, and then return to India on November 14th, 2016.

In the passengers’ complaint, he said that he had given Air India strict instructions to only serve him and his wife vegetarian food.

On the flight out to America, the meal was as he had asked, but on the return trip back to India they were served a meal that contained meat.

After discovering their meals contained meat, Mr. Pathak asked the flight crew to provide him with the airline’s complaints book so that he could make an entry about being served non-vegetarian food.

The passenger had to wait nearly three years for his complaint to be heard. There was no packaging or writing to differentiate a vegetarian meal from a non-vegetarian meal on the food he and his wife were served.

When airline staff refused to provide him with the airline’s complaints book, he went and filed a grievance with a local government consumer protection agency.

This year, when his complain finally got settled after a nearly three-year wait, the District Consumer Disputes Forum awarded him Rs 10,000 ($140.76) and another Rs 7,000 ($98.53) towards his legal costs.

Air India appealed the ruling to a higher court, Air India did not consider themselves to be at fault, however, and tried to appeal the ruling with the Punjab Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

In their decision, the Punjab Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission once more found Air India to be at fault, quadrupling the fine to Rs 40,000.

In their statement regarding the matter published in Business Today, the Star Alliance member was told that their cabin crew should have checked the food more thoroughly before serving it to the couple.

Serving a non-vegetarian food to the vegetarian passenger was not only a deficiency in services, but also a sin in the eyes of God. The airliner by doing so also hurt the religious feelings of the passenger, it said.

Swiss also served the wrong meal to an Indian vegetarian. This is not the first instance of an airline being fined for giving an Indian vegetarian a meal that contained meat.

An earlier incident in 2011 saw Swiss accidentally serve a follower of the Jain religion, whose central belief is non-violence towards all things living, a meal that contained meat.

Followers of the Jain religion, refrain from not only eating meat, but eggs and root vegetables such as carrots onions, garlic, and potatoes.

They believe that acts that go against religious teaching will bring bad karma and suffering.

In this case, the plaintiff received Rs 20,000 and as a show of good faith, Swiss offered the passenger round trip business class tickets from Mumbai to Zurich.

Tourism Observer

Saturday 21 September 2019

Tourism Observer: ANGOLA: Qatar Airways Launches New Service To Luan...

Tourism Observer: ANGOLA: Qatar Airways Launches New Service To Luan...: Qatar Airways will launch a new service to Luanda, Angola, in March 2020. The service, which will operate up to five-times weekly to the c...

UAE: Etihad Airways And Sixt Go Into Partnership

Etihad Airways and Sixt, an international mobility service provider, have announced a new partnership to provide airport transfers to passengers globally.

Customers can now book the extra transfer service online for their flight via the Etihad website immediately after purchasing their airline ticket or even up to one hour in advance.

The new service covers various car categories from limousines to SUVs - all operated by professional chauffeurs.

Jamal Al Awadhi, Etihad Airways vice president product and guest experience, said: It is important that our renowned Etihad experience exists across the entire customer journey.

This new service enhancement provides a seamless transportation experience for our guests from their home to the airport and then upon arrival at their destination.

Vinzenz Pflanz, president corporate sales, Sixt, said: I’m delighted we are expanding our strategic partnership to jointly offer our customers additional travel benefits.

Our companies are not only two strong brands in the travel and tourism industry, we also operate globally across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Sixt offers a unique, integrated range of mobility services in the areas of car rental, car sharing and ride services.

For Sixt there are over one million trained drivers worldwide ready to pick you up from the airport and provide safe transports.

Tourism Observer

ANGOLA: Qatar Airways Launches New Service To Luanda, Angola, March 2020.

Qatar Airways will launch a new service to Luanda, Angola, in March 2020.

The service, which will operate up to five-times weekly to the capital and largest city in the country, will be operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring 22 seats in business class and 232 seats in economy class.

It will be Qatar airline’s first gateway to the African nation.

Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: We are excited to be announcing our new service to Luanda – the latest destination in our rapidly expanding African network connecting Luanda to key markets in the Far East, south-east Asia and Europe.

The new route to the coastal city of Luanda not only further solidifies the links between Qatar and Angola, but will enable us to provide a seamless journey to and from this fascinating country and one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Qatar Airways is committed to growing our presence in Africa and adding to the 24 destinations in 17 countries we already offer.

Perched on the Atlantic coastline, Luanda, offers pristine beaches, sweeping ocean vistas and insight into a rich heritage.

This up-and-coming destination is set to become a favourite with travellers looking to combine natural beauty, history and culture with a vibrant urban experience.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport to more than 160 destinations worldwide.

Tourism Observer

KUWAIT: Jazeera Airways Serves No Alcoholic Beverages On Its Flights

Jazeera Airways K.S.C is a Kuwaiti airline with its head office on the grounds of Kuwait International Airport in Al Farwaniyah Governorate, Kuwait. It operates scheduled services in the Middle East. Its main base is Kuwait International Airport.

The airline has grown since its launch to become Kuwait's second national airline and has been dynamic in popularising low-cost carriers in the Middle East.

Jazeera Airways is one of the largest operators at Kuwait airport, having handled a quarter of all aircraft movements and passengers at the airport during July 2009.

According to the July 2009 report issued by Kuwait Directorate General for Civil Aviation's, Jazeera Airways had the largest number of aircraft movement in the month with 1834 take-offs and landings, over passing the second largest carrier in aircraft movement by 4% .

In 2004 the Kuwait Government permitted the establishment of the non-governmental airline firm, essentially ending Kuwait’s 50-year-old dependency on Kuwait Airways. The 2004 Emiree Decree #89 established Jazeera Airways as the first airline to enter this newly liberalized industry.

Jazeera Airways raised its capital of KD 10 million (USD 35 million) through an initial public offering in Kuwait that was oversubscribed 12 times.

The capital was doubled to KD 20 million (USD 70 million) in 4Q 2007 by a second offering to existing shareholders. In May 2009, a share distribution of 10% effectively increased the capital to KD 22 million (USD 77 million).

About 26% of the airline is owned by two companies affiliated with the Boodai Group: Wings Finance (9%) and Boodai Projects (17%).

6-7% is also held by Jasem M. al-Mousa Trading, a company owned by a former Minister of Public Works in the first Kuwaiti government established after the end of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. About 17.5% is held by two real estate companies, and the rest is publicly held.

Jazeera Airways started operations on 30 October 2005 with a fleet of brand new Airbus A320 aircraft, all leather seats, flying to several destinations in the Middle East.

In Q2 2009, UAE authorities requested the airline to terminate its hub operations at Dubai. This step was seen as a support to Dubai's upcoming launch of its own low-cost airline, FlyDubai.

Jazeera changed its operation model by concentrating on its Kuwait hub and trying to launch a second hub somewhere else. By Q2 2010, the new model proved unprofitable as the Kuwait hub suffered from overcapacity.

The airline changed its plans by cancelling many stations and parking some aircraft which were later returned to lessor.

In 2018, Jazeera Airways opened their own dedicated terminal at Kuwait International Airport. The facility is claimed to be the first owned, built and operated by a private airline in the Middle East.

It features a dedicated check-in hall for Jazeera passengers, Business Class lounge, direct access to Jazeera boarding gates, and a car park with 350 spaces connected by a sky bridge.

Jazeera Airways flies to destinations across the Middle East from its base in Kuwait. Since 2018, the company has expanded its available routes as below:


Baku - Heydar Aliyev International Airport


Manama - Bahrain International Airport


Alexandria - Borg El Arab Airport

Assiut - Assiut Airport

Cairo - Cairo International Airport

Luxor - Luxor International Airport

Alexandria - Borg El Arab Airport

Hurghada - Hurghada International Airport

Luxor - Luxor International Airport

Marsa Alam - Marsa Alam International Airport

Sharm El Sheikh - Sharm El Sheikh International Airport Seasonal

Sohag - Sohag International Airport


Tbilisi - Tbilisi International Airport


Ahmedabad - Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport

Delhi - Indira Gandhi International Airport

Hyderabad - Rajiv Gandhi International Airport

Kochi - Cochin International Airport

Mumbai - Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport


Isfahan - Isfahan International Airport

Mashhad - Mashhad International Airport

Shiraz - Shiraz International Airport

Tehran - Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport


Najaf - Al Najaf International Airport


Amman - Queen Alia International Airport


Kuwait City - Kuwait International Airport


Beirut - Rafik Hariri International Airport


Malé - Velana International Airport


Muscat - Muscat International Airport

Salalah - Salalah International Airport


Lahore - Allama Iqbal International Airport


Doha - Hamad International Airport

Saudi Arabia

Jeddah - King Abdulaziz International Airport

Medina - Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport

Riyadh - King Khalid International Airport

Ta'if - Ta'if Regional Airport


Khartoum - Khartoum International Airport


Aleppo - Aleppo International Airport

Damascus - Damascus International Airport

Deir ez-Zor - Deir ez-Zor Airport


Bodrum - Milas–Bodrum Airport

Antalya - Antalya Airport

Istanbul - Istanbul Atatürk International Airport

Istanbul - Arnavutköy International Airport

Istanbul - Sabiha Gokçen International Airport

United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi International Airport

Dubai - Dubai International Airport

United Kingdom

London - London Gatwick International Airport (Begins 27 October 2019)


Sana'a -Sana'a International Airport

The Jazeera Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:

9 - Airbus A320-200

1 - Airbus A320neo

The last of the A320s was delivered from Airbus on 9 January 2010.

The airline's fleet is powered by CFM56-5B engines. The airline has contracted Lufthansa Technik to maintain and service them. All Jazeera Airways aircraft are fitted with 165 leather seats, and split into two cabins: Jazeera and Jazeera Business.

When Jazeera business is offered, six seats are cancelled to provide 12 Plus seats in addition to 147 Economy seats.

Jazeera Airways ordered 30 Airbus A320s on 18 June 2007. This was announced at the Paris Air Show bringing its total orders up to 35 Airbus A320s.

During 2010, due to the airline's change of operation plans, several aircraft were parked, and eventually five were returned to lessor Sahaab which leased them to Virgin America and SriLankan Airlines.

In April 2011, Jazeera Airways canceled 25 of the 40 A320s it ordered in 2007. Jazeera will take delivery of four A320s still on order from 2012-2014.

In 2018, Jazeera Airways took deliveries of the first Airbus A320neo aircraft in the Middle East, and is putting the service on their Dubai route.

The airline offers business and economy class seating. The economy class seating has leather seats and shareable TV screens. Business class seats have leather seats and personal TV screens and two seats per row.

Jazeera Airways is one of the few airlines which doesn't serve alcoholic beverages on its flights.

On 2 August 2018, Jazeera flight (J9 608) from Kuwait caught fire in its right engine on landing at Hyderabad. All 145 passengers were evacuated safely and the fire was extinguished.

Tourism Observer

Friday 20 September 2019

MOROCCO: Oberoi Marrakech Set To Open December 2019

Oberoi Marrakech is set to open on December 1st 2019.

Marrakech presents a tale of two cities. Vibrant arts and culture, world class golf courses and fashionable night life, juxtaposed with spiritual mystique, beautiful gardens, Andalusian architecture and traditional souks.

The Oberoi, Marrakech is located within twenty-eight acres of Mediterranean orchards with fragrant citrus trees and centuries old olive groves.

Its beautifully landscaped gardens are punctuated by water features and its authentic architecture is inspired by palaces of ancient Morocco.

The courtyard of the main building incorporates the design of the historic Medersa Ben Youssef, built in the 14th century and one of Marrakech’s most famous historic monuments. The resort offers picturesque views of the majestic snow-capped Atlas Mountains.

Spacious accommodation, personalised wellness offerings, restaurants serving authentic Moroccan and international cuisines and an engaging children's activity area are complemented by our warm sincere hospitality for an unforgettable experience in the Ochre City of Marrakech.

The property is located in twenty-eight acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, fragrant citrus orchards and olive groves with spectacular views of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains.

The resort is located twenty-five minutes from the Djema el-Fna square and the ancient walled city.

The design of this luxury resort has been inspired by the magnificent history of Moroccan architecture.

The courtyard of the main building incorporates the design of the historic Medersa Ben Youssef, built in the 14th century and one of Marrakech’s most famous historic monuments.

The Oberoi, Marrakech has 84 spacious and luxurious rooms, suites and villas; seventy-six of which have large private pools and private gardens.

The rooms and suites have been thoughtfully laid out for maximum privacy.

Announcing the opening of the resort, P.R.S. Oberoi, executive chairman, the Oberoi Group, said "We are delighted to announce the opening of the Oberoi, Marrakech".

“We look forward to extending the Oberoi Group’s presence in one of the world’s most exotic destinations".

“Several Oberoi Hotels & Resorts have been recognised as amongst the best in the world".

“I am confident that the Oberoi, Marrakech, with its exceptional location, aesthetic design and committed team will offer the distinctive Oberoi service to travellers from around the world.”

The Oberoi, Marrakech has three restaurants featuring diverse International and Moroccan culinary experiences.

The bar and the terrace overlook the extensive gardens and the Atlas Mountains.

The Oberoi Spa with an indoor pool is an oasis of peace and tranquillity.

The spa is located on a natural water body and is surrounded by orchards.

The Oberoi, Marrakech offers 84 plush rooms, suites and villas, out of which 76 come with large private pools and gardens. The resort has three F&B outlets serving international and Moroccan food. The bar and terrace overlook a beautiful garden and the mountain.

For corporate and social gatherings, there is a 300 sqm function room and small meeting rooms. Recreational facilities include a children’s activity centre and the Oberoi Spa with private therapy suites offering authentic Moroccan and Ayurvedic treatments.

Tourism Observer

Friday 6 September 2019

UNITED KINGDOM: British Airline Pilots Association May Halt Strikes Next Week If British Airways Bows

The British Airline Pilots Association says it could call off proposed strikes next week if British Airways agrees to come back to the negotiating table.

A number of pilots at British Airways will take industrial action on September 9th and 10th.

The pilots’ union says it has put forward a new proposal in a letter to British Airways chief executive, Alex Cruz, in a bid to come to a deal with the company.

The strikes, voted in favour by 93 per cent of British Airline Pilots Association’s British Airways members, could still go ahead if the airline continues to refuse meaningful discussions.

British Airline Pilots Association general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: Our members’ resolve is very strong, and they remain very angry with British Airways, but they also want to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a resolution to their dispute.

We urge British Airways to join us to discuss the new proposal which shows pilots are willing to be flexible but still stand united in getting a better deal.

British Airways has rejected the British Airline Pilots Association understanding of the situation.

A statement from the airline said: We do not believe the union is acting in good faith by making an 11th-hour inflated proposal which would cost an additional £50 million.

The union was acting cynically by waiting until a late stage when the airline had already made arrangements to manage the industrial action, the carrier added.

Our customers need the certainty that British Airline Pilots Association will call off the strikes for good, not just for two days next week, the airline said.

Another day of strike action is scheduled for September 27th.

British Airways on Thursday dismissed a proposal by a pilots union to avoid strike action next week as unrealistic, leaving it little closer to resolving a dispute over pay with its pilots that could disrupt its services.

Earlier the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) had said that BA pilots could call off proposed strikes set for Sept. 9 and 10 if the airline agreed to come back to the negotiating table.

But British Airways said the new BALPA proposal would cost an additional £50 million and slammed the union’s new and unrealistic demands. No further talks between the sides are planned at the moment.

We remain open to constructive talks with BALPA to resolve the pay negotiations, but we do not believe the union is acting in good faith by making an eleventh hour inflated proposal, the airline said in a statement.

BALPA said last month that the pilots would go on strike for three days in September in a dispute over pay that could disrupt the peak holiday season.

The pilots overwhelmingly voted for industrial action in July and the airline, which is part of IAG, failed in a court bid to stop them.

BALPA has said that British Airways should share more of its profits with its pilots. The union has also given notice to the airline that it will call on its members to strike on Sept. 27.

Our members’ resolve is very strong and they remain very angry with BA, but they also want to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a resolution to their dispute, BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said.

Avoiding strike action and agreeing a deal with their pilots surely must be the desired outcome for British Airways.

British Airways has said the strike action was unjustifiable as its pay offer was fair and that the strikes would destroy the travel plans of tens of thousands of customers.

The airline said in August it was exploring options to supplement its fleet with aircraft and crew from other airlines, a practice known as wet-leasing, and working with partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take more customers.

BALPA has cynically waited until we have helped the vast majority of customers with alternative travel arrangements, and our planning for a strike has reached a critical stage, British Airways said.

Our customers need the certainty that BALPA will call off the strikes for good, not just for two days next week.

Tourism Observer

AUSTRALIA: Avani Adelaide Residences And Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences To Open End Of This Year, 2019

Avani Hotels & Resorts will welcome guests to two new properties in Australia.

Avani Adelaide Residences and Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences will both open later this year.

Contemporary, relaxed and imaginative, the Box Hill property will open on the fourth quarter of 2019, while Adelaide will officially roll out the welcome mat from October 2019.

Avani Adelaide Residences, a first for the brand in South Australia, comprises 76 beautifully appointed studios and suites, each with fully-equipped kitchen and laundry facilities.

The hotel also includes a heated pool, cinema, library, AvaniFit gym with steam room and sauna, and even a state-of-the-art golf simulator.

Located in the heart of this cultural capital, guests enjoy stone’s throw proximity to Rundle Mall shopping and cafes, Adelaide Central Markets, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australia Museum.

A convenient alternative to its cosmopolitan city centre sister hotel, Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences has a prime position in in the popular commercial and academic hub of Box Hill.

With a mix of 75 spacious one- and two-bedroom suites with chef-style kitchens, the hotel facilities also extend to a heated infinity pool, on-site sauna, and rooftop amenities with stunning views of the Dandenong Ranges.

Avani Box Hill offers discerning business and leisure travellers easy access to the city and airport, with diverse dining choices and a vibrant shopping centre on its doorstep.

We are delighted to see the continuing growth of the Avani brand in Australia and New Zealand with these new openings, which follow from our initial openings on the Gold Coast, and in Melbourne and Auckland, said chief operating officer of Minor Hotels & Resorts Australia and New Zealand, Craig Hooley.

Travellers the world over have responded to this fresh modern brand with our upbeat service culture that is rooted in traditional Thai hospitality.

We will continue to identify key locations to grow this exciting brand and bring a new level of service to the Australian and New Zealand landscape.

Tourism Observer

AUSTRALIA: Ritz-Carlton To Open In Perth, November 15th

The Ritz-Carlton, Perth will officially open its doors at Elizabeth Quay on November 15th.

The hotel’s main feature will be the 277 sq. m Ritz-Carlton Suite, which boasts the city’s best views of the Swan River from an outdoor balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows.

A touch of Western Australia’s rugged North West will be evident in the lobby with 10,000 pieces of hand-picked Kimberley sandstone designed to recreate a sense of walking through the Karijini gorges.

The Ritz-Carlton, Perth will also feature a rooftop bar, a restaurant serving locally produced food and wine and an infinity pool.

It will be the only Ritz-Carlton property in Australia.

Perth is currently experiencing a room-boost making it the most affordable city in Australia for hotel rooms.

Since 2012, 32 new or redeveloped hotels have opened in and around Perth, adding 3,306 new rooms to the local market with names such as DoubleTree by Hilton, the Westin, QT, Crown Towers, Alex Hotel, Intercontinental, Aloft and Tribe.

Australian Hotel Association research shows 3,556 new rooms have opened in 32 hotels and serviced apartments across the Perth metropolitan area since 2014.

By 2020, a further nine new or redeveloped hotels will come online.

Tourism Observer

EGYPT: Rixos Hotels To Open Rixos Hurghada Makadi Bay In 2020

Rixos Hotels has marked a major milestone in its Middle East expansion strategy after signing an agreement to manage its largest all-inclusive luxury resort on the Red Sea coast of Egypt.

Since Accor acquired a 50 per cent stake in the company, Rixos has identified opportunities including partnering with the Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development to takeover and renovate an existing beachfront property.

Scheduled for completion in 2020, it will be re-launched as the Rixos Hurghada Makadi Bay, a 1,636-key mega resort.

The stand-out property will boast a stunning location in a secluded bay on the Red Sea, just south of Hurghada, a hotspot for scuba diving, family getaways and golf breaks.

Resort highlights will include individual villas, an extensive indoor and outdoor spa, fitness facilities, kids clubs, a waterpark, beach lounge, large conference centre, wide-ranging food and beverage options and an expansive entertainment area with an amphitheatre.

It is expected to become the preferred destination for discerning travellers and corporate group business from key source markets such as Europe and the CIS.

This marks a pivotal moment in the growth story of our brand, bringing to market our largest resort globally and offering our most comprehensive range of facilities and unique and dynamic entertainment experiences yet, said Fettah Tamince, founder and chairman of Rixos Hotels.

We are delighted to partner with the Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development to launch this flagship project, which will set a new benchmark for luxury all-inclusive all-exclusive resorts in Egypt and the wider Middle East.

Rixos Hurghada Makadi Bay represents the first project of its kind since Accor joined forces with Rixos in 2017, strengthening the brand’s footprint to four resorts in Egypt where its already operates properties in Alamein and Sharm El Sheikh and eight across the Middle East.

Mahmoud El-Sayed Moussa El-Sharkawy, chief executive, Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development, said: Our vision is to transform Makadi Bay into the leading leisure and entertainment destination on the Red Sea.

In this respect, the Rixos brand, with its successful one-of-a-kind hospitality concept and proven expertise operating in Egypt’s resort market, makes strategic sense.It’s the perfect fit.

The renovation plan of the existing development in Makadi Bay will be phased in two stages, each spanning a year, with phase one already underway and including the addition of wings and facilities to uplift the hotel in line with Rixos brand standards.

This unique takeover opportunity strengthens the Rixos offering in Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera and highlights the strong collaboration Accor has established with Rixos team to develop the brand regionally and globally, said Mark Willis, chief executive, Accor Middle East & Africa.

We would like to thank all the parties involved in this landmark project, which offers the right mix of elements in terms of scale of inventory and facilities to embody the Rixos business model and to boost awareness of its exclusive luxury offering in key regional and global markets.

Phase two of the renovation plan will start as soon as the property opens its doors and will include a 23,000-sqm water park, as well as upgrades to the remaining hotel inventory.

Established in 2000, Rixos Hotels is a Turkey-based luxury brand with a global portfolio of 25 hotels in seven countries, 17 of which are operated as waterfront resorts and welcomes more than one million guest annually.

The chain embodies traditional Turkish hospitality and features unique health treatment clubs and entertainment experiences for guests of all ages.

Tourism Observer

AUSTRALIA: Dual Branded Accor Hotel Operating Under The Novotel And Ibis Styles’ Brands To Open 2021

Construction of a brand-new hotel at Melbourne Airport has commenced.

The 464-room hotel, created to serve Melbourne’s burgeoning conference and tourism markets, will be conveniently located steps from Terminal 4 within a new precinct known as The Hive.

The ten-storey hotel will be dual-branded operating under the Novotel and ibis Styles’ brands rated four and three stars respectively, offering guests gym and pool facilities, a café, bar and restaurant plus conference room facilities.

Melbourne Airport chief of property, Linc Horton, said the project represents the airport’s latest milestone in supporting the state as it moves toward becoming Australia’s biggest city.

It is really exciting to bring such a great new hotel concept to one of the great travel destinations in Australia – Melbourne, giving travellers more choice and amenity, said Horton.

We believe this new development will bring a much-needed social hub to our space bringing visitors and business colleagues together on the doorstep of the airport with access to more than 650 flights per day.

Importantly, it will also open up around 120 job opportunities for hospitality and tourism staff – a huge boost for the City of Hume.

The dual-branded hotel will open in 2021.

The hotel is the first major development to kick-start the airport’s Hive precinct, which will also feature a childcare facility to cater to the airport’s 20,000 strong workforce as well as office space ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 square metres.

Simon McGrath, Accor, chief operating officer Pacific, said, Worldwide, Accor is an airport hotel specialist and we continue to innovate and lead in this sector.

We are excited to be working with Melbourne Airport on this significant development and thrilled to be embarking on another dual-branded hotel complex with our internationally recognised Novotel and ibis Styles brands.

This newest member of the Accor Group is a vibrant airport precinct development, which captures the essence of Melbourne through its interiors and warm welcome to guests.

Tourism Observer

Thursday 5 September 2019

UNITED KINGDOM: Guest Embarrassingly Smoked Out Of Room After Booking In With His Daughter

A dad said he was left "disgusted" after police officers stormed his hotel room when he checked in with his 13-year-old daughter.

Jon Coupland was staying at the Jury's Inn hotel in Station Street, Nottingham, with his daughter Jessica Coupland.

The 58-year-old, who has had full custody of his daughter since she was three months old, was horrified when police knocked on his door and started questioning him on Wednesday night, Nottinghamshire Live reports.

Jon, who works as a DJ said: "I have never been made to feel like this in the whole time I have had custody of Jessica.

"No one has ever questioned me or made me feel like this before.

"I was coming to Nottingham for work and Jessica said she wanted to come with me so that she could do some shopping before she went back to school.

"I decided to book the Jury's Inn as it looked like a good location and then when we got there I was checking in and they asked for ID.

"I was quite taken back by it but I went out to my car to get my driving licence with a picture of me on and showed them that. It was all fine. We checked in and went up to the room.

"About an hour later there was a knock on the door and four police officers stormed in with the manager and they started interrogating me."

Jon, who lives in Lincolnshire, said the sudden outburst upset his daughter, who is half Thai, and she was left in tears by the incident.

He added: "I am absolutely disgusted by the behaviour of the hotel and the police. We were made to feel very unwelcome and they knew I was her dad but they kept asking questions.

"I felt that it was like what happened before all over again.

"They would not have done this if my daughter wasn't half Thai.

"It was awful. They made such a scene and it was very embarrassing for her and for me.

"I want everyone to know about this and the way we were treated."

Jon and Jessica decided to leave the hotel and stayed at the Premier Inn instead, where they had no problems.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police confirmed that police attended the incident following a report of suspicious behaviour.

Nottinghamshire Police was called to Jury’s Inn, Waterfront Plaza, Nottingham city centre, at 6.45pm on Wednesday, August 28 following a report of behaviour which was perceived as suspicious where a child was present.

Officers were quick to arrive at the scene and established that the child was safe and well and no offences had been committed.

Nottinghamshire takes child welfare very seriously and will respond to any reports of concern from the public.

A spokesman from Jury's Inn added: “As this matter was dealt with by the police, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.”

Tourism Observer

THAILAND: Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok Has New Managing Director - Richard Schestak

Richard Schestak has been appointed as the new managing director at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.

Looking back to 28 years of experience in international hospitality industry, Schestak joins this luxurious iconic landmark in the heart of Bangkok from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where he was general manager at Fairmont Marina Resort and Fairmont Marina Residences.

Austrian-born, he brings to the hotel a wealth of international hotel experience gained in Europe, North America, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific with an extensive background in hotel operations - in particular food and beverage concepts and Michelin starred restaurants.

His leadership experience embraces luxury mixed used developments, hotels and residences with Fairmont and Raffles.

Schestak spent 21 years with Fairmont Raffles Hotels in key roles including general manager at Raffles Jakarta, general manager at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh and opening director of operations at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi.

I am proud to join the iconic Kempinski brand and be able to contribute to Thailand’s incredible reputation for warm hospitality and to Bangkok’s dynamic hospitality community, Richard Schestak said.

Schestak holds an MBA in international hospitality and tourism from University of Leicester in England, as well as certificates in hotel revenue management and hotel real estate investments-asset management from Cornell University.

He speaks fluent English, basic French and is a native German speaker.

Tourism Observer

MALAYSIA: AirAsia X places 42 plane order with Airbus

AirAsia X has completed a firm order with Airbus for an additional 12 A330-900 and 30 A321XLR aircraft.

The contract was signed by Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, chairman of AirAsia X, and Guillaume Faury, chief executive of Airbus in Kuala Lumpur earlier.

The deal was signed in the presence of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister of Malaysia.

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, chief executive, AirAsia Group, who was present at the signing, said: This order reaffirms our selection of the A330neo as the most efficient choice for our future widebody fleet.

In addition, the A321XLR offers the longest flying range of any single aisle aircraft and will enable us to introduce services to new destinations.

Together, these aircraft are perfect partners for long-haul low-cost operations and will allow us to build further on our market leading position in this fast-growing sector.

The new contract increases the number of A330neo aircraft ordered by AirAsia X to 78, reaffirming the carrier’s status as the largest airline customer for the type.

Meanwhile, the A321XLR order sees the wider AirAsia Group strengthen its position as the world’s largest airline customer for the A320 family, having now ordered a total of 622 aircraft.

AirAsia X has been the pioneer of the long-haul low-cost model in the Asia-Pacific region.

This new order for the A330neo and A321XLR is a true endorsement of the Airbus solution to meet mid-market demand with a combination of single aisle and widebody products.

This powerful solution will provide AirAsia X with the lowest possible operating costs to expand its network and enable even more people to fly further than ever before.

AirAsia X currently operates a fleet of 36 A330-300s on services to points within the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.

In addition, in August the first A330neo joined the fleet of AirAsia’s Bangkok-based long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X Thailand.

The aircraft is the first of two leased A330neos joining the airline’s Thai affiliate by the end of the year.

Tourism Observer

MALDIVES:IHG Welcomes InterContinental Maamunagau Resort

InterContinental Hotels Group has welcomed the opening of the Maamunagau Resort.

The property, also known as InterContinental Maldives, is the latest in a series of new luxury resort openings which includes ANA InterContinental Beppu in Japan and InterContinental Hayman Island in Australia.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts’ first property in the region is situated on the southernmost tip of the Raa Atoll near Baa Atoll, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and one of the most secluded locations in the Maldives.

The resort boasts 81 beach, lagoon and overwater villas and residences and is the first to offer all guests access to the world-class service and amenities of Club InterContinental throughout the entire island.

These generous offerings, coupled with extensive wellness facilities, bespoke experiences and six restaurants and bars, combine to take this Maldivian gem to the next level.

Stefan Huemer, general manager of InterContinental Maldives, commented: “The opening of the InterContinental Maldives signals a new era for the brand; and further raises the bar in terms of luxury and immersive experiences here in the Raa Atoll.

We are truly privileged to open this resort, which flanks the Baa Atoll UNESCO biosphere and creates an offering that enriches guests’ stay through education, exploration and relaxation, whilst ensuring the preservation of this ocean idyll for generations to come.

A 35-minute scenic seaplane transfer from Malé’s Velana International Airport enthrals guests with an awe-inspiring view of Maamunagau Island surrounded by emerald blue waters and pristine white sands.

Stepping onto the island, guests will be mesmerised by the property’s 81 luxuriously appointed Beach, Lagoon and Overwater Villas and Residences, tantalising gastronomic experiences, thoughtfully curated personalised service, immaculate attention to detail, and an ever-present element of surprise and delight.

Enclaved within the archipelago’s largest natural lagoon, InterContinental Maldives is also located in proximity to Baa Atoll, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

The resort is committed to creating a sustainable marine ecosystem and has partnered with Manta Trust in support of the Maldivian Manta Ray Project, to nurture a safe habitat for the manta rays as well as providing guests with the opportunity to swim alongside these graceful creatures and snorkel in underwater coral gardens.

Located in the southern Raa Atoll, InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort is blessed with a large inner lagoon located to its west, calm waters, amazing sunset views and a pristine white beach.

The resort is now accepting bookings for stays with opening privileges from September 1, 2019, until January 31, 2020, via

Guests staying during this period will enjoy daily complimentary breakfast and dinner at Cafè Umi for any length of stay; and, complimentary seaplane transfers for stays of five nights or longer.

The InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand makes travel alluring, with insights from more than 70 years of experience. Each of our properties provides a gateway to the glamour of the InterContinental Life.

Tourism Observer

KENYA: Man And Woman Cause Incident In Funyula Lodge

In Funyula town located in Busia County on Thursday word went on that two secret lovers, a married woman and a man, got stuck together while making love at a lodging.

Word spread like bush fire within the small town and its environs disrupting business for over six hours as curious members of the public rushed to the building.

The incident attracted a huge crowd of people at the busy trading center since it was a market day.

Curious onlookers who had surrounded the lodging however failed to see the lovers as they had locked themselves in.

Residents said the watchman locked the two lovers inside the lodging to save them from public ridicule.

This is indeed a very shameful incident especially among married couples who should respect their marriage, a woman who did not want to be identified said.

The watchman should have let them come out of the lodging we know who they are because the woman has ashamed us and by portraying us as unfaithful to our men. The watchman should have allowed us to teach her a lesson she said.

Tourism Observer

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines Commences Flights To Seattle

Singapore Airlines is going ahead with non-stop services to the US with the departure of flight SQ28 to Seattle this morning.

The flight departed Changi International Airport earlier and is scheduled to arrive at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport today, at 09:05 local time.

Customers departing from Singapore received an exclusive goodie bag containing items such as a commemorative certificate, SIA batik pen and passport cover as well as a mini notepad featuring the Seattle skyline.

Upon arrival in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the aircraft will be receiving a water cannon salute.

Seattle is the fourth US destination after Los Angeles, New York (Newark) and San Francisco to be served non-stop from Singapore.

The Seattle flights will initially be operated three times weekly before increasing to four times weekly in October, bringing the total number of weekly non-stop Singapore-US services to 31.

When combined with SIA’s existing one-stop services to Houston, Los Angeles, New York (JFK) and San Francisco, total US service frequency will increase to 57 per week.

The new Seattle services will further strengthen the Singapore hub by providing customers faster and more convenient connectivity from key markets such as south-east Asia, south Asia and Australasia to North America.

Tourism Observer