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AS FUJAIRAH IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO PUTTING ITS VERSATILE AND PROACTIVE
STRATEGIES IN PLACE FOR THE NEXT 23 YEARS, OMAR SOUAB, GENERAL MANAGER, FAIRMONT FUJAIRAH BEACH RESORT REVEALS HOW THE PROPERTY'S LUXURY OFFERING ATTRACTS GUESTS FROM ALL CORNERS OF THE GLOBE.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How successful has the first half of this year (H1) been in terms of tourists' arrivals and which were your main feeder markets?

OMAR SOUAB: Since soft opening in 2016, Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort has increasingly become the preferred luxury accommodation choice in Fujairah. Albeit having opened with limited inventory and facilities, the resort marked a historic achievement having opened a month ahead of its original opening date. The hotel's achievements month-on-month have been strong on room revenue, occupancy as well as ADR indexes, leading the hotel to surpass industry benchmark standards for performance over a pre-opening time-frame of four months. The resort has consistently grown its occupancy and increased visitor numbers, enabling the property to quickly gain prominence in the Northern Emirates region. The resort has earned a positive welcome from UAE and GCC residents and international travellers alike, with the hotel currently holding the number one position in Dibba on TripAdvisor and a Guest Satisfaction Score of above 86 percent.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How has Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort changed the hospitality scene in the emirate?

OMAR SOUAB: The hotel's strategic location hidden between mountainous valleys and the Gulf of Oman creates a sense of exclusivity. Attracting travellers across the Middle East and internationally, the hotel showcases authenticity, a hip interior design and innovative culinary concepts. It offers a wide range of facilities, including the UAE's second Willow Stream Spa, exciting aqua activities and meeting venues designed to inspire creativity and maximise productivity. Five iconic dining venues present unique culinary options, from international cuisine at Canvas, Café Pronto's European-style bistro to Arteasan's art-inspired tearoom, IAMMAI's serene pool and shisha lounge. The resort's signature restaurant, The Copper Lobster, brings locally-sourced seafood and a new gastro bar concept that has been warmly received by its UAE, GCC, UK and CIS target markets.

TRAVEL TRADE MENA: Fujairah's tourism and hospitality sector has grown by leaps and bounds during recent years. Which further actions need to be taken in order to turn Fujairah into a globalised destination?

OMAR SOUAB: There is huge potential for the destination to cater to travellers across the UAE and internationally, particularly as Fujairah marches towards its 2040 vision development plan of integrated growth, […]. As the Fujairah 2040 Framework Plan also acts as an important holistic guide in directing growth and management in key sectors such as regional and local tourism, the addition of Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort contributes positively to the ever growing tourism sector in Fujairah and hospitality market in northern emirates. We strive to be pioneers in the luxury segment and to pave the way for more brands to set base in Fujairah. The resort contributes to the continuous development of Fujairah's international positioning of the region, while reflecting the emirate's energy, culture and heritage in each of its offerings, be it through its wellness and food and beverage offerings, or in the resort's art-inspired arabesque/Berber theme that breathes life into the emirate. An important part of our role as hospitality partners is to support the tourism boards in their efforts to promote the destination. We continue to participate in international trade shows to promote the hotel, the destination and all that Fujairah has to offer. In the fourth quarter this year (Q4), we launched a Friday Market showcasing locally-sourced products with an aim to highlight Fujairah's culture and heritage.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Do you have any further plans in order to attract more customers from the Middle East and North African (MENA) region?

OMAR SOUAB: We have recently launched our private and dedicated beach and will be unveiling the upcoming Lava Beach Club facility in Q4. Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort will fill a significant gap in Fujairah's leisure offerings with one of the region's first ever luxury lifestyle beach clubs. Spanning over 2,600 m2. Lava Beach club will include a multi-function lawn area, luxurious penthouse, amphitheatre-style sun-loungers, and a kids' pool to complement the resort's existing Little Sailors Kids' Club. Facilities will also include a 840 m2 free-form swimming pool in vivid hues of orange and yellow with multiple sunken Jacuzzis, luxury day chalets and unrivalled capabilities for social events. Other features will include a fully licenced restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a sunken pool bar, shisha bar and a DJ station. Lava Beach Club will be a much welcomed lifestyle addition to the destination, attracting visitors from the Middle East as well as international travellers from the UK, Germany, Russia and CIS countries alike.

WITH DUBAI DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM AND COMMERCE MARKETING (DTCM) HAVING IDENTIFIED INCREASING THE NUMBER OF REPEAT VISITS AS ONE OF THE THREE CORNERSTONES IN ITS VISION 2020, CHARLIE TAYLOR, GROUP DIRECTOR, JUMEIRAH HOTELS & RESORTS, EXPLAINS HOW THE GROUP IS CONTRIBUTING TO ACHIEVING THIS MILESTONE.

LOCATED IN THE HEART OF SAKHIR DESERT, BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT (BIC) IS AN ULTRAMODERN MOTORSPORT FACILITY AND A FAVOURITE VENUE FOR A RANGE OF EVENTS INCLUDING WEDDINGS, MUSIC CONCERTS AND CHARITY OCCASIONS.

WITH TOURISM BEING A CENTRAL PILLAR OF DUBAI’S ECONOMIC GROWTH, THE EMIRATE IS EXPECTED TO FURTHER LEVERAGE THE SECTOR BY BROADENING ITS OFFERING.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What makes the Middle East an attractive destination to clients and which are your top-selling destinations?

KATERINA MOUSBEH: The culture of the Middle Eastern countries is so different and so similar to the Greek culture with people having many cultural elements in common. Mideast Travel Worldwide, since the very first day of its operation, has been servicing not only foreigners visiting our country but also Greek travellers willing to meet new destinations such as Jordan and Lebanon. Today, after 35 consecutive years of operation, Mideast Travel Worldwide has become the only company in the Greek market specialising in both incoming and outgoing business and leisure travel to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and more. Our top selling destinations among the Middle Eastern countries include Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How has demand for trips to the Middle East grown over the past years?

KATERINA MOUSBEH: Over the past few years, a great demand for travelling to the Middle Eastern countries has been observed, especially in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This could be attributed to the favourable conditions offered by these markets to Greek enterprises, giving them the opportunity to create strong partnerships and potential expansion.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the core values of the company that set it apart from it competitors and what are the main priorities of the company when it comes to handling the requirements of VIPs?

KATERINA MOUSBEH: Our We care philosophy defines our whole existence. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of service to our clients and treat their goals as our own. We respect and value our employees, creating a working environment that is professionally challenging and personally rewarding. The passion for challenge is in our DNA.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Based on Airports Council International’s data, Middle Eastern airports continue to deliver the fastest growth rate worldwide. In light of the region’s fast-paced development, what are your expectations for the future?

KATERINA MOUSBEH: As it is understandable, these growing numbers clearly depict the economic development of these countries, which are now included among the powerful countries of the world. What is very interesting for us is the fact that more and more charter flights are flying to Greece, showing the excessive demand for our country as it comes from these markets. Mideast Travel Worldwide, over the last past years, organises Greek Tourism Workshops in Middle Eastern countries on an annual basis, tightening the bonds with the local tourism market while also strengthening further its leading position as a destination management company [a title that the company received for the fourth consecutive year in a row during this year’s World Travel Awards].

WITH GREECE BECOMING A PARTICULARLY ATTRACTIVE DESTINATION AMONGST MIDDLE EASTERN AND NORTH AFRICAN TRAVELLERS MANOS VATZOLAS, DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING, LEDRA HOTELS & VILLAS EXPLAINS HOW THE GROUP CATERS TO THIS CLIENTELLE BY INVESTING IN PRIVACY AND HALAL FOOD.