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Series: Middle East Travel Roundup

Middle East Travel Roundup

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Marriott International announced 13 deal signings in Turkey comprising over 2,000 rooms.

Current Strength: Marriott currently has a portfolio of 48 properties and nearly 8,000 rooms across 21 brands in the country.

Year-Wide Openings:


  • Istanbul Marriott Hotel Pendik.
  • Tribute Portfolio in Taksim Square plans to offer 61 rooms.


  • Marriott Executive Apartments Vadistanbul slated to open in the sought-after Vadistanbul community with 202 rooms.
  • Marriott Executive Apartments Istanbul Tema is anticipated to comprise 208 rooms.
  • Sheraton Hotel & Thermal Spa Usak.
  • The 78-room Delta Hotels by Marriott Istanbul Karakoy
  • Aloft Istanbul Karakoy, which will add 100 rooms.
  • 153-room Autograph Collection Hotel in Cappadocia.


  • The projects announced by Marriott International include the introduction of Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Turkey with the signing of the 192-room Fairfield by Marriott Istanbul Yenibosna.
  • The 90-room Residence Inn by Marriott Istanbul Yenibosna.
  • Moxy Izmir Turan.


  • Residence Inn by Marriott Istanbul Piyalepasa
  • Courtyard by Marriott Istanbul Piyalepasa. Both properties combined will offer 329 rooms.

Marriott Speak: “Turkey continues to provide the company with opportunities to further diversify its portfolio across primary, secondary, and tertiary markets in the country,” said Marriott International Chief Development Officer — Europe, Middle East & Africa Jerome Briet.

Private Jet Service for Pets Launches Dubai-London Service

Private jet firm K9 Jets is launching a private jet service to allow owners to ferry pets from Dubai to UK.

The inaugural flight will depart from the private jet terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai on September 26 and fly into Farnborough, UK. The Dubai–London route will see regular flights take place throughout 2023 and 2024.

Ticket Price: Tickets are available for $9,925 which includes a seat for a passenger and a space in the cabin for a pet.

Rules: As per the UK government guidelines, all passengers travelling on the flight will be asked to provide the relevant medical certification for their pets. Pups need to be leashed at all times but can sit on the owner’s lap or in the cabin. 

History of K9 JETS: Founded by husband-and-wife duo Kirsty and Adam Golder in 2022. K9 Jets was conceived after Golder’s sister company G6 Aviation received a request for a flight from London to New Jersey 10 ten passengers and 10 dogs.

Source: Freepik.

Pet travel: According to the International Pet and Transport Association, over 4 million pets and live animals are transported by air per year. Pet travel is set to continue to rise globally.

Till date, K9 Jets has flown over 220 pets and their owners on international flights from destinations including Paris, London, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Lisbon, said Adam Golder.

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor Proposed

An India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor has been proposed on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi recently. The corridor is being perceived as an answer to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It will include a railway network as well as a ship-rail transit network and road transport routes.

The Connection: The corridor comprises an Eastern Corridor connecting India to the Gulf region and a Northern Corridor connecting the Gulf region to Europe.

The Signatories? A memorandum of understanding was signed by India, U.S., Saudi Arabia, UAE, European Union, Italy, France and Germany.

In his remarks, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the importance of physical, digital and financial connectivity.

Red Sea Global Announces Amaala Multi-Utilities Concession Agreement

Red Sea Global has entered into a 25-year concession agreement with the French multinational electric utility company EDF (Electricite de France) and clean energy company Masdar to service Amaala.

Phase One of Amaala will be ready to welcome first guests in early 2025.

Sustainability: With sustainability as a cornerstone, the new partnership with EDF and Masdar would drive Amaala towards achieving a zero-carbon footprint once fully operational, said John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global.

Like Red Sea, its sister destination, Amaala will be powered entirely by solar energy, which could save the equivalent of nearly half a million tons of CO2 emissions every year.

Net-Zero Goals: While this agreement contributes to Amaala’s pursuit of net-zero goals, the project goes a step further by aiming to make a positive and regenerative impact on the environment. The objective is to generate a 30% net conservation benefit for local ecosystems by 2040. This will be accomplished by improving diverse habitats such as mangroves, seagrass, corals, and terrestrial vegetation, which will support biodiversity and also play a role in carbon sequestration efforts.

Etihad Airways Expands Partnership with Air France-KLM

Air France-KLM Group and Etihad Airways have signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance their collaboration opportunities across passenger operations, loyalty programmes, talent development, and maintenance.

What Does the Partnership Entail? The two airlines look to expand their codeshare and interline agreements initiated in 2012.

  • As a first step, more than 40 new routes covering destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Australia have been made available for booking, from the winter 2023 season.
  • The MoU also proposes the ability for frequent flyers of both Flying Blue and Etihad Guest to earn and redeem miles.
  • The airlines will also explore terminal co-location, reciprocal lounge access and ground handling, among other initiatives.

Flight Schedule: Etihad currently operates daily flights to both Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol from Abu Dhabi international airport. Air France will also start operating daily flights between Paris and Abu Dhabi from October 29.

Context: Earlier this year, Air France-KLM announced a partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism to reinforce connectivity between Europe and Abu Dhabi.

Almosafer to Lead Sales for Premium Airline Beond in Saudi Arabia

Beond, said to be the world’s first premium leisure airline, has selected travel company Almosafer as its exclusive general sales agent in Saudi Arabia.

What Will Almosafer Do? Almosafer will lead Beond’s sales, promotions and ground staff activities in Saudi Arabia through its service solution Almosafer Business, leveraging the large customer base across Almosafer’s businesses including the consumer segment, Discover Saudi, the destination management company and Mawasim, the Hajj and Umrah tour operator.

Almosafer Business will handle the reservations, transactions and administration relating to general sales for Beond.

About Beond: Beond’s fleet is comprised of an all-premium cabin configuration. The newly-launched airline plans to operate a non-stop between Riyadh and Male. The airline said in a release that Maldives has seen a steady influx of visitors from the Saudi market, especially in the luxury segment.

Middle East Airlines

With international recovery on track, Middle Eastern airlines posted a 23% increase in July passenger traffic compared to a year ago, according to data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

However, this number is still down 4% compared to pre-Covid levels,

Capacity for Middle East airlines rose 22% and load factor climbed to almost 83%.

Compared to the previous year, international traffic for North America’s airlines increased by 18%. Consistent with this, most route areas from North America continued to exceed pre-pandemic levels in July, especially those connecting markets in the Middle East and in Central America.

Middle East airlines also contributed almost 10% to the world share of total air passenger market.

Full Recovery in 2024: Earlier this year, IATA had said that Middle Eastern carriers were on track for a full recovery and the airlines are expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic 2019 levels by 2024.

Gulf carriers will be at the forefront of the surge in passenger numbers, which IATA expects to double in the region to 550 million by 2040, IATA regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East Kamil Al-Awadhi had said.

Doha Airport Sets Digital Passenger Assistance Kiosks

Doha’s Hamad International Airport has introduced passenger digital assistance kiosks to facilitate seamless journeys and manage passenger flow more effectively especially during the airport’s critical peak periods.

The airport has partnered with Atos and Royal Schiphol Group to set up the kiosks.

How Will The Kiosks Help?

  • The kiosks are multilingual with 20 language options, with the airport map for wayfinding.
  • Provide easy access to information related to flights, airport services, retail and food and beverage outlets and passenger events at the airport.
  • Assist in navigation.
  • Help passengers through live video calls with customer service agents.

The kiosks are part of the airport’s overarching digital strategy to transform passenger experiences, said Suhail Kadri, the airport’s senior vice president of technology and innovation.

Abu Dhabi Airports Also Works to Ease Customer Experience

Abu Dhabi Airports has signed a service level agreement with the General Administration of Customs, to reinforce service levels and ease the passenger experience.

The agreement aims to expand areas of collaboration in terms of expediting travel procedures, checking baggage and facilitating the movement of passengers and cargo across the airports.

Rove Announces First Branded Residences Project in Dubai

UAE-based hospitality brand Rove Hotels has announced that it is bringing its residential concept, Rove Home, to Dubai. The first project in the city, Rove Home Downtown is located within the Burj Khalifa District will offer fully-furnished studios, 1, and 2-bedroom apartments.

“This new flagship location at the heart of Downtown Dubai represents an important step for the Rove brand and our commitment to create lifestyle living experiences that are as unique as our hotels,” remarked Paul Bridger, the chief operating officer of Rove Hotels.

The hotel company has partnered with real estate investment and development company IRTH for the project.

Rove Hotels had earlier announced its first branded residences project in the UAE, the Rove Home Aljada in Sharjah.

Branded Residential Market: The branded residential market has experienced significant growth, most of which has occurred in the upper luxury segment, Rove Hotels said in a release.

Qatar Airways Appoints a Brand Ambassador

Qatar Tourism has appointed Olympic champion Qatari track and field athlete Mutaz Barshim, as its newest brand ambassador.

Who is Mutaz Barshim? Barshim recently set a world record as the only high jump athlete to win five World Championship medals. He is also the current World Champion and second highest jumper of all-time.

Why Barshim? Calling Barshim a true embodiment of Qatar’s limitless potential, Sheikha Hessa Al-Thani, head of marketing and planning at Qatar Tourism, said, “Barshim’s soaring athletic endeavours mirror the very essence of Qatar’s rising ambitions on the world stage.”

Events to Watch Out For in Qatar:  

October Line-up:

  • Geneva International Motor Show,
  • 2023 Qatar Grand Prix
  • Expo 2023 Doha

In November:

  • Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar — MotoGP

Qatar Tourism has also launched its newest initiative, “Voices of Qatar,” which celebrates local talents and their impact on Qatar’s past, present, and future.

New Hotel Openings

>>IHG Hotels & Resorts announced its first urban luxury resort and spa in Riyadh — the InterContinental Durrat Al Riyadh Resort & Spa.


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Tags: air france-klm, asia monthly, doha, Etihad Airways, g20, iata, ihg, maldives, marriott, Middle East airlines, pet travel, premium air travel, private jets, qatar, red sea, red sea global, saudi arabia, Seera Group, turkey

Photo credit: Marriott currently has a portfolio of 48 properties across 21 brands in Turkey. Seqoya / Getty

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