Volume 2  | Issue 8 | 2017

Dear Reader,
July 2017 has been an eventful one for us at Travel Point. From gearing up to begin the Sixt Franchisee Operations in Oman to Corporate Group Travels, the team is beaming with energy for the second half of the year!  
I'm happy to inform you that the Travel City & Travel Point Corporate Office will now be relocated to Al Said Plaza, the same premise as the current Travel Point Office in Qurm. Easy access, convenience with new and improved service to our customers is our motive behind the move. We've been at the CBD office since the inception of this company, and it's not easy leaving the spot where we started out from. But they say, change is inevitable and we need to move with the times.
We hope to see you at the Qurm Office more often, for all your travel bookings. 
The team has won some significant accounts and tenders in the last month, and I couldn't be prouder of their achievements. Please also join us in the #TRAVELPOINTBOXOFHOPE2017 Charity Initiative and let's send some Hope to the World! 
Do get in touch with us for all your travel and hospitality requirements. And while you're here in Oman, make your weekends adventurous, fun and exciting with our packages starting from OMR 12. Some ziplining adventures this weekend, may be?
Hope you have a lovely month ahead!

Sunil Prabhakar
Chief Executive Officer
Travel Consortium

Located on the historical Silk Road, Trabzon is a Turkish city cuddled up on the coast of Black sea. The city is famous for its multiculturalism and diversity in languages and religion. It is also known to be the epicenter of trade to Iran and Caucasus, and is said to be visited by Marco Polo and many other prominent explorers. The history of Trabzon dated back to the Iron Age. We say, it's time to get away from the summer heat!

During the time of Ramadan, we placed a Box of Hope at the Travel Point office in Qurum, where both the employees and the customers could donate food, clothes and other household items into this Box of Hope. We had around 100 employees and customers who donated and the collection was sent to Al Rahma Charity Organization who distributed to the less fortunate.

In addition, an employee team of 10 employees set out on a weekend with little boxes containing food items and distributed it to around 50 Omani houses in the outskirts of Muscat to help them celebrate a better iftaar with their families during the time of fasting.

With the success of this initiative we will continue to place the Box of Hope at the Travel Point LLC Office in Qurm, which will then be sent through a Charity Organization to Somalia in Africa as well as to Yemen and Syria. The company encourages all people in Oman to join this drive and donate books, toys, clothes, dry food and canned food items. The next donation is scheduled to take place just before Eid Al Adha in the first week of September 2017.

SIXT Rent-a-Car, has appointed Travel Point LLC in Oman as their franchisee partner, during a signing ceremony that took place in May in Munich, Germany. Arabia Cars, the car rental division of Travel Point LLC will now operate as Sixt Oman, to support and partner with the international expansion strategy of Sixt.

The premium mobility provider will be welcoming its customers at the Muscat International airport as well across 5 branches of Travel Point across Oman, from where Arabia Cars used to operate. The Head Office will be located at Al Said Plaza, Qurm with branches at Muscat International Airport, Salalah, Nizwa and Duqm in phase 1, extending further to all 44 Travel Point outlets across Oman. The company also has plans for further expansion across the country.

Sixt's comprehensive, global mobility services in Oman will soon be available on the Internet and via the Hotline: +968 99243622.

From 29 October, KLM will also be offering its Anytime For You meal service to World Business Class passengers on flights to and from Bangkok. This is the second route, after Johannesburg, where WBC passengers will be able to decide for themselves when they wish to eat.

KLM launched Anytime For You on 1 July. This service ensures that WBC passengers get more choice and control. In addition to the usual three-course dinner and lunch options, the menu also includes an Anytime For You selection of eight dishes. This includes cold and warm dishes, savoury and sweet, healthy dishes and tasty treats. After the regular meal service, passengers can order from this extra menu during the remainder of the flight. The selected dish is prepared and served restaurant style whenever it best suits the passenger.

Now you can travel from Muscat International Airport on Oman Air via Kuala Lumpur on Malindo Air to International and domestic countries. International countries such have Indonesia and Singapore. 

With Malindo Air you can now explore the Far East at unbelievable return fares. Fly to SriLanka (Colombo) for experiencing a tropical paradise with return fare starting from OMR 100 and to Pakistan (Lahaore) starting from OMR 130. You can plan a quick visit to India (Kochi/ Delhi/Mumbai/Trichy/ Trivandrum/Amritsar) with return fare starting from OMR 66.

Book your trip with Malindo Air soon before the fares changes.   For more information, contact us at +968 99319410 or write to us at malindoair@atctp.com.

Good news to all passengers travelling to Doha and Muscat from Pakistan! Book your tickets to Doha or Muscat from Pakistan and avail upto 25% discount. Starting from OMR 42 for one way and OMR 108 for return, passengers can also fly to Dhaka via Pakistan.
PIA has also introduced flights to Islamabad, Sialkot, Karachi, Dhaka and Lahore from Salalah.
For more information, call the Pakistan International Airlines offices at +968 24792460/61/65 or email mcttopk@piac.aero

US-Bangla Airlines has launched their Winter Schedule, effective 29 th  October 2017 till 24 th  March, 2018 to destinations Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Chittagong. The Daily Direct Flight to Chittagong which was to launch in October, is already operational and has received overwhelming demand.

For more information, call the US-Bangla Airlines office at +968 24830724 or email them at sales@usbanglaairlinesom.com or reservations@usbanglaairlinesom.com .

Marhaba, Airport Meet & Greet and Lounge Services, brings seamless service to Singapore. You can now relax in the comfort and privacy of the dnata Lounges in Terminals 1 and 3 at Singapore Changi Airport. Its open 24 hours for you to unwind, savour the flavour of the international buffet or simply catch up on work. Marhaba services are smoothing the journey not just in the Middle East, but around the world in Europe, Asia and Africa. The services are now offered at Dubai, Bahrain, London Heathrow, Johannesburg and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Our Outbound Team is all set to make your Eid Al Adha holidays memorable. We have special packages to Baku, Georgia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Our packages include return flight tickets, accommodation in four star hotels, daily meals and sightseeing with guide. For more details call us on +968  93888627 or email us on vacations@atctp.com .

Exploring the world can never be a challenge with us. Walk into our offices, book your dream holiday and pay in easy 0% interest monthly installments. We have partnered with most of Oman's leading banks. Come on already, life is too short to wait!

Visit our Qurm branch to know more details or call on +968 98080754.

Medicare Tourism, our medical and wellness division is now the representative of FAI (Flight Ambulance Jet) in Oman. Representing this German Air Ambulance Service provider that offers impeccable Bed to Bed transportation service, makes Travel Point the only company in Oman to provide this service for those in critical health conditions, seeking an airlift for immediate treatment at international hospitals with impeccable timing are care. Operating from Oman to anywhere in the world, the FAI service has no restrictions; flying adults, infants and newborns as well. It is a 24 hour service provider with a highly qualified and multilingual medical team onboard to cater to the medical needs of the patient on board.
When in need of such emergencies, feel free to call us on +968 99232577 or email us at medicare@atctp.com.

Characterised by its alleys, traditional buildings, high mud buildings, and agricultural terraces that wrap around the mountain, along with the old buildings, Misfat Al Abriyeen rises a thousand metres above sea level. Its decorated houses standing side by side in close proximity look like terraces waving up and down with the mountain's terrain and give the visitor a distinctive visual pleasure. The first house here was built 200 years ago.

Work on the new passenger terminal at Muscat International Airport, Oman, is 97 per cent complete and authorities are awaiting final approvals for starting operations, a report said.

The new airport will have the capacity to handle 20 million passengers a year in the initial stages, which will gradually be increased to 48 million passengers, said the  Oman Daily Observer  report.

The $1.8-billion terminal has a total area of 580,000 sq m with 118 check-in counters.  Earlier reports said the terminal is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

As tourism becomes a major driver of the Saudi economy with its huge employment-generating potential, Saudi Arabia has launched six major initiatives to stimulate the travel and tourism industry.

"The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) is reviewing its strategies to be in conformity with Vision 2030 and contribute to achieving the goals of the National Transformation Programme (NTP) 2020," said Mohammad Al-Nashmi, a spokesman of the SCTH.

Al-Nashmi pointed out that $2.64 billion (Dh9.70 billion) has been allocated for these projects in the 2017 budget. According to a statement released by the SCTH, "the six initiatives are aimed at streamlining the travel and tourism sector."

Religious tourism, including Hajj and Umrah, has been a major revenue component of the sector. The statement said one of the six initiatives is "The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Programme for taking care of national culture and heritage." A total of 79 projects will be implemented under this programme.

United Nations' World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) will hold its second world conference on tourism and culture at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre on December 11 and 12.

The UNWTO and Unesco conference fostering sustainable development, which is the official event of the year, is expected to explore ways to build and strengthen partnerships between the tourism and culture sectors and enhance their role in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reflecting upon the outcomes of the first world conference, held in 2015 Siem Reap, Cambodia.

It is expected to discuss synergies and strategies for the sustainable development of cultural tourism that generate resources for the conservation of cultural heritage while creating socio-economic benefits for the communities, according to a statement of the organisation.

To enhance tourism services and infrastructure and encourage domestic tourism across various roads networks in Oman, the Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a number of integrated tourism stations.

About 17 integrated tourism stations under the Ministry of Tourism will be launched this year. They will include service, hospitality and tourism facilities that will provide world class services to road users under guidelines set by the Ministry. 

The Ministry of Tourism earlier identified land plots that will be used as integrated tourism stations and divided them into three main groups after maintaining cooperation with the relevant authorities. The first group includes the proposed integrated tourism stations on Adam/Thumrait and Al Batinah Express roads.

The number of visitors to Salalah during the first three weeks of Khareef Season that began on June 21 saw a decline of 16.7 per cent compared with the same period in 2016, according to statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

Total visitors number fell to 21,110 as on July 11, compared to 51,776 during the same period last year NCSI statistics shows that as many as 7,231 people reached Salalah by air as against 13,879 who arrived by road. 

Giving a break-up of the number of visitors by air, the report says that the majority of them - 5,341 - arrived on domestic flight, while international carriers brought in 1,890 visitors. However, compared to last year, the arrival by airlines showed a 20.1 per cent increase compared to a decline of 27.8 per cent of visitors who arrived by land route.

Thomas Cook, the UK-based travel company, is opening its latest hotel, the smartline Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort on November 1, 2017. The hotel will be the company's first own-brand hotel in the UAE, and will feature 253 chalets, a private beach, three pools, a spa and dining outlets.

The opening is part of Thomas Cook's plans to grow its portfolio of own-brand hotels, and is in addition to the 22 hotels the company is opening across the summer 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The move comes as Thomas Cook and Ras Al Khaimah's Tourism Development Authority extended their cooperative marketing agreement, which aims to promote Ras Al Khaimah as a leisure destination for European tourists.

In a statement on Thursday, the Authority said the partnership between two sides that started in 2016, will enter its second phase in August 2017. The deal aims to develop Ras Al Khaimah as a year-round destination for tourists.

Thomas Cook's creative agency, 1841, will lead the development of the promotional campaign, which will focus on key growth markets including the UK, Germany, Nordics, Russia and the Netherlands.

"International visitors represent almost two thirds of the overall tourism to Ras Al Khaimah, with the UK and Germany being among the top three source markets. This partnership will continue to attract holidaymakers from Europe who seek great value beach holidays and authentic adventure- and culture-based experiences," Haitham Mattar, chief executive officer of Ras Al Khaimah's Tourism Development Authority, said in a statement.

Most major hotel markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries reported performance declines in Ramadan 2017 when compared to Ramadan 2016, according to a report from STR, a data provider.

In Dubai, hotel room rates fell 1.5 per cent during the month, though that decline was countered by an increase in occupancy rates, which rose 1.2 per cent when compared to Ramadan 2016.

STR said that "growing hotel supply and geopolitical issues are affecting the region's performance. School terms also factored into performance results - Saudi Arabia's school term finished earlier, while schools in some countries continued through the Ramadan period."
Looking broadly at the GCC, Muscat was the only market analysed by STR that reported an increase in revenue per available room (up 8.7 per cent). The market's 19.4 per cent increase in occupancy outweighed a 9 per cent decline in average room rates.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, Makkah reported an 8.8 per cent decline in revenues per available room. This was primarily due to a 7.9 per cent drop in occupancy rates, which reached 74.3 per cent.

STR analyses that key religious tourism source markets for Makkah including Egypt and Indonesia are currently facing currency devaluations against the Saudi Arabian Riyal, making the destination less affordable to visitors from those markets.

Applying Ethiopian Tourist Visa for Omani Nationals and Expat Residents in Oman is now possible at the Ethiopian Airlines Office in Muscat. To apply for the visa, passengers will need to carry their passport and ID Card to the office. The visa will be processed within 8-10 working days. This original visa will be stamped at Addis Ababa Airport on Arrival. This facility is available only to those passengers travelling on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight. For more information call +968 24817676/24819119.

Air France-KLM is buying almost a third of Virgin Atlantic, leaving Sir Richard Branson's parent company, Virgin Group, with a minority stake in the airline he founded.

Air France-KLM is taking a 31% stake, worth £220m, in Virgin Atlantic as part of a four-way joint-venture with US partner Delta.

Virgin Group's share will fall from 51% to 20%, while Delta will retain 49%.
Sir Richard said he would remain "very much involved" after the deal.  He said  in an open letter  that the new joint-venture would be "extremely beneficial" to the airline, customers and the brand, and recalled key moments in Virgin Atlantic's history, striking a valedictory tone.

Jean-Marc Janaillac, chief executive of Air France-KLM, said the deal would give customers "even more choice between Europe, UK and the United States via twelve hubs on both sides of the Atlantic".

From 8 th  August 2017, Qatar Airways will start operating from Sohar. Sohar is a third gateway from Oman to the world. You can now check the flight timings and start booking your flight by contacting the nearest Qatar Airways outlet.

Now you can fly to Mumbai daily with Oman Air's third direct flight to Mumbai. The new daily flights are WY205 AND WY206. WY205 will be flying from Muscat to Mumbai daily at 2240 and will arrive at the Mumbai airport at 0300. WY206 will departure from Mumbai at 0405 and arrive Muscat at 0515.

Jet Airways has revised their baggage rates for passengers traveling from Muscat to India and SAARC countries. With immediate effect the rates have been changed from OMR 8 to OMR 10 per kg. Jet Airways has also introduced the 14-day advance purchase fares from Muscat to Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

Air Arabia has made it easier to visit the majestic city of Trabzon in Turkey. With 4 flights to Trabzon from Muscat, 3 flights back to Muscat from Trabzon, and a low airfare starting from OMR 160, this is truly going to be the next hottest holiday destination. Trabzon, historically known as Trebizond is a city on the Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. It's not the largest, but is certainly the most sophisticated city in the region. Beat the summer heat of Muscat and enjoy the temperature of 27°C in Trabzon.

Air Arabia has introduced Flights from Sohar to Sharjah flying three times a week. With low fares, the airline flies out of Sohar to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran, Georgia and many more destinations.

Emirates and Flydubai will embark on an innovative partnership that will benefit both airlines and customers, which will further develop Dubai's position as a leading global aviation hub. This is not a merge but a very close co-operation between the two independently successful Dubai based airlines. This new partnership is said to unlock the immense value benefiting consumers, both airlines and Dubai.
Our colleague Mr. Sudeep Joseph, Head - Travel City travelled to Moscow, Russia with one of our Corporate Groups last month. He says Moscow is one of Russia's most iconic cities. They went on a dinner cruise excursion featuring the sights and landmarks of Moscow from the Flotilla Radisson Royal pier at Gorky Park, to the Central House of Artists, the Monument to Peter the Great, the House on the Embankment, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Moscow International House of Music, the Novospassky Monastery, and then back to the pier. He highly recommends the walking tour of Moscow Kremlin, the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation on to the Cathedral Square surrounded by Italian architecture. The highlight was the Red Square and the St. Basil's Cathedral the iconic landmark of Russia which has been standing strong for nearly 450 years now!  

After the Soviet Tank Ride experience, he was in awe of the authentic Russian Dinner with amazing Russian Folklore, followed by vibrant Russian nightlife. On the next day, he visited The Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra and he claims that will all his years of travel there is no other monastery equal to this one. He says if you'd like to bring souvenirs back, then right here is the time to buy some gorgeous Russian handicrafts - matryoshka dolls and lacquered boxes in a small bazaar as the town also claims to be the birthplace of the Russian nesting doll. His memories of the Russian countryside are very vivid and filled with praise for nature and beautifully decorated country homes. 

He says his visit to the Nikulin Circus, one of the oldest in Russia is unforgettable and is a must see for every visitor here ! He also recommends a ride on the bullet train to St. Petersburg. He says this city has become a national symbol of historical heritage, vibrant cultural life, and sheer beauty. The city's canals and grand architecture, drawn with bright colors and white light, show why so many of Russia's famous artists and poets have sprung from the so-called Venice of the North. The stunning interiors of The Alexandrinsky Theatre, are truly royal as they claim and it is always classical and a great opportunity to watch the famous Swan Lake in this theatre. The Alexander Puskin Palace, is a sight to behold and and the panoramic view of the city featuring views from the gilded viewing platform of St Isaac's Cathedral, to St. Petersburg's famous Winter Palace, the Marvel at churches such as the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, the grounds of the Summer Palace of Peter the Great are unimaginably breath-taking. The river cruise along St. Petersburg's rivers and canals, is a boat trip that is an essential part of any sightseeing holiday to St. Petersburg. And if you reach the embankment of River Moika, then don't miss grabbing some dinner at the YAT if you're a foodie. The restaurant of home Russian cuisine always serves fresh pastries, home fruit drinks, branded tinctures, dishes prepared according to old recipes from various regions of Russia from Siberia to the Rostov and Arkhangelsk regions. This has been one of his most colorful holidays, filled with memories and experiences that he says should be on every travel freaks bucket list too. So, are you convinced yet?
İzmir köfte

For Meatballs:
400 g minced beef
2 stale slices of bread, crust removed, whizzed or finely chopped until you have breadcrumbs (c. 40 g net weight)
1 egg
1 chili, seeds and core removed, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and shredded or finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
For Vegetables:
500 g potato, peeled or well rinsed and cut into 4-5 mm thick slices
1 large carrot (c. 150 g), peeled or well rinsed and cut into 4-5 mm thick slices
1 pepper (any type), seeds and core removed, cut into large chunks (if using Turkish green peppers, use a handful)
1 x 400 g can of chopped tomato + 200 mk water or 300 ml passata + 300 ml water
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

(1) Preheat the oven to 180 C.
(2) Using your hands, mix the meatball ingredients until completely combined. Shape into 8-10 equally sized meatballs anymore and the meatballs will be too small and will get dry). Flatten the meatballs slightly.
(3) Mix the potato, carrot and pepper in a suitable oven dish, making sure the potato slices don't stick together. Put the meatballs on top. Mix tomato, water, olive oil and some salt and pepper. For a stronger tomato flavour, you may add a teaspoon or two of tomato paste and a pinch of sugar. If you have a stick blender, use it to mix the sauce to a homogenous mass - if not, mixing by hand and keeping the chunks is also fine. Pour the tomato sauce over the vegetables and meatballs, making sure everything is covered in the sauce.
(4) Roast in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are soft, around 40-45 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the thickness of your potato slices and the type of potato used. If your potatoes are still very hard after 40 minutes you may remove the meatballs while the potatoes finish cooking, returning them to the oven to reheat for five minutes when the potatoes are ready. Serve hot.
Travel City LLC - Travel Point LLC - Al Araimi Travel & Cargo LLC
Toll Free Agent: +968 9286 0928

Head Office
1st Floor | Said Plaza | Qurum
PO Box 1694, PC 114, Muttrah
Sultanate of Oman
Phone: +968 2466 1800

Vacations - A division of Travel Point
Phone: +968 2466 1800
Email: vacations@atctp .com
Tour Oman - A division of Travel Point
Phone: +968 2466 1800
Email: info@atctp.com 

ArabiaCars - A division of Travel Point
Phone: +968 2466 1877
Email: arabiacars@atctp.com

Al Eman - A division of Travel Point
(Hajj & Umrah)
Phone: +968 2466 1800
Email: aleman@atctp.com

MediCare - A division of Travel Point
(Medical Tourism)
Phone: +968 2466 1877
Email: medicare@atctp.com

India Representation
(Tour Oman)
New Delhi
Phone: +91 9971 5645 51
Email: india@atctp.com

India Representation
(Tour Oman)
Phone: +91 22 2660 3222
Email: india@atctp.com