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RJ receives first Dreamliner

Halal tourism – a buoyant sector

Granada, Spain, will host the first ever international Halal Tourism Conference 2014 (22-23 September) to examine how the industry can best capitalise on one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. The tourism sector across the world is looking closely at the value of the Muslim consumer market and how individuals are increasing their leisure spend. According to the latest figures, the halal tourism sector was worth £84bn in 2013, representing 13% of global travel expenditure. This figure is expected to reach £116bn by 2020. In London alone, there are 13,400 Muslim-owned travel businesses making up 33.6% of the total SME’s in the UK capital. The MuslimTravelIndexEurope 2014 survey, revealed that 93% said it was important that the country they travelled was willing to cater for a halal lifestyle.

The first US-made Boeing 787 Dreamliner joined the Royal Jordanian fleet in late August, becoming only the second airline in the Middle East to operate the 787. This year will see the introduction of other four Dreamliners, at roughly monthly intervals.

RJ Chairman of the Board/ President & CEO Nasser Lozi, noted that acquiring the 787s is a step that pushes the national carrier of Jordan forward in terms of onboard services and route network, enhancing its competitiveness at regional and international levels. According to the company’s long-haul fleet modernisation plan, the Dreamliners will replace the currently operating A340s and A330s.

Lozi stressed that the 787 will offer passengers more luxury and comfort on long-range flights, by featuring larger windows and more legroom.

As Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes division noted: “The Middle East is one of the world’s highest growth areas for commercial aviation and we are proud that Royal Jordanian has selected the 787 to spearhead its fleet modernisation strategy and route expansion plans.  We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with Royal Jordanian well into the future.”

In addition to providing airlines with unprecedented fuel economy and low operating costs, the 787 features a host of new technologies that greatly enhance the passenger experience.

EBRD opens new Turkish office

In response to the growing demand for EBRD investments in Turkey, the bank is stepping up its engagement in the country with a new office in the south-eastern city of Gaziantep. Deputy Undersecretary at the Turkish Treasury Cavit Dağdaș, Gaziantep Province Governor Erdal Ata and Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin are expected to take part in the event.

Home to 1.7 million people, Gaziantep is a dynamic business hub and a gateway to the south-east of the country. The city has Turkey’s largest organised industrial area and with its extensive olive groves, vineyards and pistachio orchards is also an important centre for agribusiness. Gaziantep’s exports account for over 4% of Turkey’s total exports.

The new office in Gaziantep will help the EBRD better serve micro, small and mediumsized enterprises (MSMEs) located outside the large metropolitan areas of Istanbul and

Ankara, where the bank already has offices, by providing long-term finance to local companies and offering support and knowhow to their management.

EBRD has invested over €3.5 billion in the Turkey across 120 projects covering infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, industry and finance. In just five years the EBRD’s portfolio in Turkey has become one of the largest among the countries where the Bank invests.

September 2014 The Middle East  9

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