Middle Eastern travel trade honored by Royal Caribbean


Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has presented awards to senior members of the Middle East travel trade in recognition of their outstanding contributions to generating cruise sales during the past year.

At a special ceremony – held to coincide with the annual Arabian Travel Market running at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre this week – Royal Caribbean International gave out 10 awards based on criteria such as sales volumes, quality of bookings, year-on-year growth and business relationships.

The travel industry partners receiving the awards for 2009 Best Sales Performance were:

• Al Kaatib Travel Agency – Bahrain
• Tutankhamun Tours & Travel – Egypt
• Modern Tours & Travel – Jordan
• The Holiday Centre – Kuwait
• Kurban Travel – Lebanon
• Qatar Tours – Qatar
• Elaf Travel & Tourism Co. – Saudi Arabia
• Al Rais Travel – UAE

The award for the ‘Best Regional Sales Performance’ was won by Transworld Travel in Bahrain again after being honoured for their outstanding results in 2009.

In addition, a new category was introduced in 2010: The ‘Cruise Sales Agent of the Year’, which recognises the efforts of an individual within the regional travel industry, with whom it is a pleasure to do business with. Sally Yousef of Egypt’s Travco Travel received this award for her reliability and hands on approach.

Dr. Abdulaziz AlOshban, Principal & Managing Director of Safeen Tourism, the international representative of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in the Middle East, who opened the proceedings, said: “A vital component in ensuring the regional cruise industry’s long-term growth is honouring parties whose contributions are laying the foundations of its future success.

“With the help of our partners we’ve achieved positive regional growth in cruise passengers compared to 2008. Our key markets of Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have performed well once again and it is very encouraging that some of our emerging markets, such as Lebanon and Jordan, record triple digit growth compared to the previous year. And the outlook for 2010 is prosperous – in just four months we are already 50 percent ahead on our guest volume compared to the same time last year.”

Helen Beck, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s Regional Sales Director, International Representatives, EMEA, echoed the sentiments.

“Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2009 Travel Trade Awards. Royal Caribbean greatly appreciates all of our travel agent and agency partners, who have continued to support us through this exciting and challenging past year.”

Beck continued that the last 12 months had been memorable. “Every 5-10 years we work hard to set new trends. In 2009 we took a huge step towards the future of cruising with the introduction of Oasis of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship. In addition, our 220,000-ton, 5,600-passenger Oasis-class sister ship – Allure of the Seas – will follow this year and will be another benchmark for best-in-class cruising experiences.”

In January of this year, the Middle East welcomed the first sailing in the Gulf region of Brilliance of the Seas – a 2,500 capacity vessel offering seven-night cruises to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Oman and Bahrain. Brilliance of the Seas is scheduled to be in Dubai for her second Gulf season from January 2011.

“Feedback from our guests, who came from as many as 79 different countries, was that they thoroughly enjoyed their seven-night round-trip sailings on Brilliance of the Seas and we had full occupancy on every sailing. Of course many factors contribute to this success, including travel agents who remain at the core of the business. We look forward to working with all of our travel partners toward a memorable and successful 2010,” she added.