ITB 2024 Special Reporting
What a start of the week! Industry under attack?
Tuesday, 23rd September 2008
Source : 4Hoteliers.com & sources
Tourists kidnapped in Egypt – Suicide bomber at the Marriott – Alitalia grounded and it keeps coming… What's going on?.

Yesterday the news came through that on Friday 15 tourists were kidnapped in the southern part of Egypt, near a city called Aswan, a popular spot for tour groups and safaris.

The nationalities are not confirmed as yet; however sources tell that the group included 5 Italians, 5 Germans and 1 Romanian. The others were Egyptian drivers and tour guides.

The BBC reported that the Egypt's tourism minister, Zoheir Garana, said a ransom had been demanded and negotiations were under way. A ministry statement said: "This is an act of banditry not of terrorism."

Minister Garana told Associated Press news agency that a ransom of up to $6m (£3.24m) had been demanded.  He says the tourists are believed to have been taken across the border into Sudan.

"According to the information we have, the hostages are in Sudanese territory but we don't know where," Mr Garana said to the BBC.

A day later on Saturday tragedy struck Pakistan, a suicide bomber severely damaged the Marriott in Islamabad.

The hotel was a popular meeting place for foreigners and government official. Apparently, the hotel was supposed to be the venue for a high profile well attended government event which was relocated just hours prior to the bomb.

An official press releases issued by the hotel operator stated: "Saturday, September 20, 2008, at approximately 7:00 p.m. local time, a truck packed with explosives was detonated outside of the Islamabad Marriott hotel in Pakistan. The vehicle was stopped by hotel security and a fortified barrier at the entrance to the property."

"The blast caused extensive damage to the front of the hotel and started a fire. Marriott International is working with the hotel's owner to assist victims and assess the damage. News reports indicate numerous people were killed and injured in the bombing, including the deaths of several hotel security personnel who stopped the truck."

Bill Marriott noted in his daily blog: "The situation is still unfolding. Right now, we can't confirm the number of people who have died or have been injured, but news reports are numbering it in the dozens, most of them Marriott employees. This is a terrible tragedy and we grieve for those people who died, or were injured, and their families,"

Makes you wonder what kind of world we are living in….

Then we have the global economical turn-down and Alitalia is once again fighting to keep its head above the water in shark (not buyers) invested waters.

The Telegraph.co.uk reported yesterday: "A last-ditch attempt to find a buyer for crisis-stricken flag carrier Alitalia will be made today as Italy's transport minister warned that the airline's planes could be grounded within a week."

Some unions have not accepted the Italian investors' rescue plan, which calls for some 3,250 layoffs among the airline's 19,000 workers, the elimination or reduction of loss-making routes and the sale of many aircraft.

Alitalia has already canceled 40 flights in the last few days and there are not many interested parties to take over the company. When BerLusconi was campaigning for premier again last year, he said that he would keep Alitalia as the national carrier with Italian capital. I guess we have to show patience...

However there might be hope, Gabriel Kahn, Rome correspondent for the Wall Street Journal says: "Alitalia serves a very lucrative market; even though the company is broke it does not mean that the Italian market is worthless.

"You've got lots of rich, wealthy businessmen in the north who need to travel abroad, and you've got a huge inbound tourist market into cities like Florence and Rome -- so if you have a company that is efficient and works well you can make a lot of money."

Official company memo with regards to putting its assets up for sale:


A web search for other views gave us:
True or not, think about all these men & women working hard, just trying to make a honest living for their families.

Luckily the Asian stock markets started off the week on a more positive note.

Image source: 1/BBC, 2/AFP & 3/Alitalia
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