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achievements, ambitions and plans
It takes a lot of courage and money to launch a publication, especially when it is of a cultural
nature or takes a different view and approach to what is common and vulgar. I know
this from my 15-16 years in a previous weekly publication and I face similar challenges
with the present one.
When the publisher of Islamic Tourism Magazine invited me to join his team, the magazine
had just finished its first year of quarterly issues. It was fairly new but the experience
of publishing magazines was not new for the publisher. Publishing magazines is a recurring
dream of Mr. Shakiry. He had previously published two trade magazines but the
concept of an Islamic tourism trade magazine was new. I thought the choice is hard and
bold, especially when the magazine was born in the shadow of 9/ 11. I thought part of
the name should be dropped but the publisher was adamant that it should stay. It is a
defining term for the identity and direction of the magazine. I accepted that and defended
it. It created a concept with a rich content and we are gaining ground culturally.
Much has happened in the international arena since the magazine was set up. We wondered
about the name and the negative connotations which could be associated with it.
But after much debate and discussion we decided to keep the name.(2)
In this issue
Languages and globalization of tourism
At the beginning of 2006, Islamic Tourism magazine will also be published in
German, the fifth language, in addition to Arabic, English, French and Spanish.
The German version of the electronic site of this magazine, will appear before
this date, and will be added to the four others. The attentive reader, in particular
the one who is interested in heritage, civilization, science, economics and the
media, may wonder how this project was born and implemented to reach its
current level. The publication of a professional review of tourism, culture and
heritage, with an international dimension and distribution, in five languages and
more to come, is a pioneer in this field. It was not easy to turn the idea of an
international Islamic tourism magazine into reality.
Islamic Tourism magazine, is in fact only the engine of a series of coaches;
each one with new horizons for creative information and advertising. The first is
the electronic website, which is characterized by a diversity of pages covering
all aspects of international tourism and travel. It is also a means of highlighting
the tourism web sites of all countries of the world and of publishing weekly
news bulletins with news from the world of tourism in five languages. The
websites have been designed and updated by the publisher and director of
TCPH Ltd and his staff.
The publication of Islamic Tourism magazine has surprised everyone. It is well
received by the tourist industry. The publisher is proud of it became it is his
dream come true. It was first published in two languages (English and Arabic)
in a high quality format. All the issues of the magazine, from the first which
appeared in the autumn of 2001, until the current issue, can be read, free of
charge, on the magazine’s website: www.islamictourism.com.
The summer of 2004 was marked by a second surprise, namely the publication
of Issue 12 of the magazine, which also had a French/Arabic edition. After the
success of this initiative, we continued to expand with confidence and
enthusiasm. Thus, from the start of 2005, another edition Spanish/Arabic was
added. Here we are, at the beginning of the fifth year of ITM’s existence, and
we are about to publish in German/Arabic, at the beginning of 2006: the
magazine will soon be available in five languages.
Morocco was the starting point
The important question is how and from where did the idea come to publish in
English/Arabic, and then move to a cloned French/Arabic edition?(6)
Damascus, with its aura of the orient and historical glow
hosted the Silk Road Festival 2005 last month. A warm
welcome and generous hospitality was extended to
participants who visited Palmyra with its famous ancient
history, Der Al-Zoor and Aleppo.
Hundreds of invited guests, journalists and tourism professionals from
more than 50 countries, together with their Syrian friends, enjoyed the
activities of this marvelous annual event, with numerous art exhibitions,
plays, music festivals, sports competitions and trooping the colors (the
flags show) as well as the culinary festival.
Artistic groups from all over the world took part in most of the activities.
The opening show was a Syrian play, "Journey Through Time", which
narrated the history of the Silk Road, followed by a fireworks display,
which lit up the sky of Damascus.(75)
On spanish Architecture
Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest tourist areas, with splendid beaches as well as architecture which reveals its
glorious past and prestigious present.
Antonio Gaudi is regarded as one of the
famous representatives of the modern
classical movement, and one of the most
brilliant architects of the 19th and beginning
of the 20th century. Since the 50’s critics
started to regard his architecture as a
significant period index of the development
of modern architecture in Europe.
Gaudi is an artist and architect from
Catalonia. He studied Islamic art, in
particular Andalusian and Moorish
architecture, as well as certain works
comprising drawings and plans of ancient
architecture. Analysts of Gaudi’s work state
that Islamic, Gothic and baroque
architectures are the base of his creations.
These influences are particularly manifest in
three of his works: the Guell Palace,(8-12)
The island of nature and migratory birds
When one plans to visit a country, one is often overwhelmed by a feeling, which varies according to people and place.
Sometimes, one feels bored as soon as his feet touch the ground : other times, one is very happy on arrival.
When landing on the island of Cyprus one
immediately feels great happiness and
tranquility. The island, in spite of its small
area and population, ranks highly on the
map of international tourism because of its
numerous natural and cultural attractions.
The locals, whose smile is inexhaustible,
always extend a warm welcome to tourists.
At Larnaka airport, one feels tenderness
and warmth. It is immediately apparent
that the island is a first class tourist
destination, especially for those who want
to avoid the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Here they find safety and peace of mind.
Cyprus is an island impregnated by the
history and aura of the past. This island was
once the theatre of mythological gods as
Aphrodite. It was ruled through the centuries
by the Egyptians, Assyrians,(14)
A visit to the treasures of the chinese emperors
Midnight off the coast of China.
Two cargo ships without lights
steam into the South China Sea.
Their destination: Taiwan. The
cargo: More than 600,000 priceless
art objects representing the cream
of Chinese creativity for the past
The year was 1949, and the dark voyage
marked the final chapter in a 16-year
odyssey to preserve the vast treasure chest
that had been hoarded by Chinese emperors
in the Forbidden City for five dynasties. This
was a real-life thriller that would dwarf
anything Hollywood has ever brought to the
Today; the incredible collection is on rotating
display at the National Palace Museum in
Taipei and has become Taiwan's No 1 tourist
attraction. No finer display of Chinese arts
and culture can be found anywhere on earth.
It would literally take decades to see it all.
Only about 4,000 objects are on display at
any given time, with the rest of the collection
stored in honeycomb-like caverns tunneled
into the mountains behind the three-story
museum. Every three months, the collection
is rotated under heavy guard. Only a handful
of people have clearance to enter the
connecting tunnels and make the switch(16-20)
Where time began
Greenwich is viewed by thousands on river cruises but it is rewarding to spend a day, or more, in a place where the
sheer concentration of art and architecture has earned Greenwich the status of a World Heritage Site.
fascinated by the Harrison clocks, so
important to complete accurate navigation. It
was the achievement of an accurate sea
chronometer that finally enabled sailors to
work out their exact position. The prime
meridian line of the world is marked out on
the cobbles and by standing with one foot on
either side I was able to be in both eastern
and western hemispheres simultaneously.
At street level The National Maritime Museum
contains the story of Britain at sea. In a
modern setting, vessels from all ages are on
show with galleries displaying artifacts from
polar and other expeditions. In the Nelson
collection a poignant item is the coat he was
wearing when killed in 1805(22)
The british museum in london is hosting a magnificent ...
It is unique as many of the displayed items are shown for the first time outside Iran. The exhibited collection was
gathered from different places; some from the British Museum's own collection while some of the items on display
were brought from Tehran and Paris.
The exhibition sheds light on many aspects
of the ancient Persian Empire which was
one of the greatest empires in the ancient
world stretching from the Near East to
Greece. Six galleries narrate the
establishment of the empire, its growth and
The authentic global city
Istanbul is the only city in the world that was a capital of two major empires: the Byzantine and the Ottoman. The
simplistic idea that Istanbul is a city where "West" meets "East" does not take into account that two major
Mediterranean world cultures had their centers in the city. Istanbul is the "root" and the "authentic centre" of
multiculturalism and hybridity. Only a few cities in the world may genuinely claim historical and cultural multi-layers:
Jerusalem and Damascus - although they are not on par with the Greek-Turkish Constantinople-Istanbul.(30-36)
An ideal stop over
Less than 13 hours flying time by Malaysian Airlines direct services, Kuala Lumpur is a worthwhile, attractively
priced stop-over. The Light Rail Transit takes only 26 minutes from the airport to the city centre.
At 1453 feet, the tallest twin tower building in
the world, the Petronas Towers are linked by
a sky-bridge at the 42nd floor. Public access
to the towers is limited and then only to the
bridge. Rather than queue for this, I
recommend the KL Tower, another high
point, where you fully appreciate the scale of
Petronas Towers and the reason KL is called
a garden city. There are 2058 stairs but I
preferred the 22 km per hour lift which whisks
you to the all round viewing platform!(38)
Arab world travel and tourism fair
"Lebanon, as you know, ladies and gentlemen, throughout its history, always manages to get over difficulties. The
phoenix again takes its flight with more strength and determination". That was the message from the Lebanese
Minister for Tourism, Mr. Joseph Sarkis, at the dinner party, at the Royal Hotel of Beirut, honoring participants in the
2005 edition of AWTTE (29th September - 2nd October).
The minister stressed that the prosperity of
tourism in Arab countries, despite the present
situation, is proof of their rich heritage. The
general director of "Aalam Al-Iqtissad W.A Al-
Aamal" affirmed that tourism is not a choice but
a destiny. It is a fundamental sector, whose
contribution to the national income is essential.
The director of Middle East Airlines (MEA) was
honored for his achievements this year; as well
as Mr. Nadhmi Ouji, owner of the Royal Hotel,
and the owners of Venecia & Vandom Hotels
A strong spring season for tourism
Yemen is a peaceful country with cordial people where tourists are welcomed. It is called Happy Yemen. The
country is the cradle of civilization and history. It conceals enchanting tourist treasures.
Those looking for natural wonders,
heritage and culture will see their dreams
come true. If you have an attraction for the
sea, you will discover in Yemen beautiful
beaches, clean with golden sands, and
more than 120 splendid islands. In
addition there are vast deserts, and
mountains on which houses sleep: at night
they look like suspended stars in the sky.
There is also medical and religious
tourism and cities designated world
heritage sites. The list of tourist attractions
Hosted world tourism day conference
The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) invited over two hundred tourism delegates to the World Tourism Day conference,
held in the Four Seasons Doha on 27th September 2005. The event was organised by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA)
and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) a specialised United Nations agency for tourism based in Madrid, Spain.
WTD is an international day, endorsing
awareness among the international community
of the importance of tourism and its social,
cultural, political and economic values.
The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has taken a
special interest in commemorating this day,
QTA Chairman Mr. Akbar Al-Baker
emphasized. He took this opportunity to point
out Qatar’s remarkable achievements in
establishing itself as a tourist destination and
an important player in international travel.(48)
Asia's newest destination for 'Golf Tourism'
Brunei, a tropical paradise with splendid
natural and cultural sites is now adding
golf to its numerous tourist attractions.
Earlier this year the Brunei Open put the
sultanate firmly on the international golfing
ancient game was introduced in the
sultanate in the early 20th century through
expatriates who worked in the oil industry.
A nine-hole course in Kampung Bunut was
the only facility then but when local senior
executives got hooked on the game,
other courses were built to meet the
Now, there are five 18-hole courses and
two nine-hole layouts to cater for an
estimated 3,000 local golfers. The Jack
Nicklaus-designed Empire course, which
overlooks the South China Sea,(50-52)
Confirms commitment to major expansion of its hotel ...
Riyadh- Following its selection to manage the largest and
most luxurious hotel in the Middle East, in Makkah, Accor,
one of the world’s leading hotels and services groups,
today confirmed its strategy of becoming the most
significant hotel group in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle
East as a whole.
ACCOR Group’s current portfolio in the Middle East
includes 18 hotels with 3,622 rooms. But the Group aims to
increase its regional base to 52 hotels and more than
13,600 rooms by 2009. In Saudi Arabia, where it now
manages 6 hotels with 1,400 rooms, ACCOR plans to
increase its portfolio to 11 hotels with 3,650 rooms by 2007.
Accor worked with the Munshaat Group, a major Kuwaiti
investment company, in securing the US$ 600 million to(54)
International Hospitality Forum
The publicity of the presence of Iraqi businessmen is becoming part of
media campaigns of commercial shows organized in Jordan and other
neighboring countries in order to maximize the number of participants.
In all Jordanian exhibitions, one always finds Iraqi visitors. Thus, the
shows held in Jordan serve the two markets: Jordanian and Iraqi. This
was promoted during the International Hospitality Forum, where many
Iraqi businessmen were invited to take part.
The Forum was held from September 20th – 22nd in Amman’s
exhibition centre in Marj Al-Hamam, where a broad range of hotel
facilities, such as furniture, sports equipment and kitchen ware were on
show, along with various cuisines.
More than 150 companies took part in the forum which attracted
more than 5000 visitors mainly from Jordan and neighboring
countries. The improvement and development of this forum, year
after year, are notable, on the organizational level as well as the
number and quality of visitors.
Islamic Tourism took part in this forum for(27)
The mediterranean Travel Fair
It is now a regular practice that countries
mutually support each other in the face of
terrorist operations, in particular those
aiming at tourist sites. I remember, at the
time of my visit to ITB in Berlin, two years
ago, the great sympathy which Spain
received, following the explosions at its
railway stations. It appears that the World
Tourism Organization (WTO) and a number
of Ministers of Tourism wanted to support
Egypt after the attack on Sharam El-Sheikh.
This year, a number of ministers of tourism
and Mr. Frasesco Franjelli, Secretary-
General of WTO took part in the
Mediterranean Travel Fair (MTF, 6th – 8th
A journey to the land of the pharaohs
Aswan is an enchanting city in the deep south of Egypt. It is an area of permanent sunshine and greenery. This
bewitching city has a perfect smile, which is reflected on the waters of the eternal Nile. It tells the Nile the glories of the
pharaohs and successive generations that marked the history of this country. Its High Dam is a witness to the strong
will of the Egyptians and their ability to turn the impossible into reality and create a better life for themselves and for
future generations. This is the city of Aswan.(58-64)
of tourism talks to Islamic Tourism
It doesn’t really matter what he does: the fact that Iraq even has a Minister of Tourism at one of the most violent and
troubled times in its history is a victory of hope over experience.We tried unsuccessfully on several
occasions to interview Iraq’s first Minister
of Tourism in his office in Baghdad. The
office is located in the Green Zone, and
the minister has a busy schedule. But,
paradoxically, when we participated in
an exhibition concerned with the
rebuilding of Iraq held in Kurdistan, we
met Mr. Hashim Al-Hashimi, Minister for
Tourism and Heritage, and he agreed to
give us an interview.
There is a lot of talk about the
problems of the tourist sector(66)
Trade Show in the north of Iraq
The Iraqi Chamber of Commerce and Industry listened to foreign businessmen who repeatedly emphasised that
Kurdistan is the gateway to Iraq, as the region enjoys greater safety and the regional administration is able to attract
foreign investment.It organised DBX Kurdistan, the first
international trade show and conference in
free Iraq, in collaboration with the regional
government in Erbil, from September 15th –
18th. Around 305 foreign and local
companies representing 30 countries
participated, along with most Iraqi and
As its name tells us, DBX Kurdistan was the
first international trade show hosted by Iraq.
Many rebuilding exhibitions were held in
neighbouring countries, and consequently,(68)
Tourism in the heart of history
Report: Walid Abdul-Amir Alwan
Photographs: Fadhel Abbas Essalami
A piece of land about one km2 in El-
Madain, south of the capital
Baghdad, has three claims to fame:
the historical buildings and tombs of
the companions of the Prophet . It is
also the site of one of the great
battles fought by Moslems, a
watershed for the Islamic faith.
Tourism In The Heart Of History
The place and its name
This city is located some 40 km to the south of
Baghdad and has several names, "El-Madain"
(Aramaic), "Ctesiphon" (Persian) and "Seleucia"
(Greek). It was founded by the Parthians, who
came from the south of Iran and conquered
Iraq in 141 B. C. They made Ctesiphon their
capital. The Sassanides used it as their winter
capital in addition to the summer capital,
Soussa in Iran, after the Sassanide Ardashir
vanquished Artaban, the last Parthian king in
224 A. D. The Sassanides controlled Iraq, until
the Muslim conquest.
It seems that the choice of this area as the
capital of the great states of that time was
justified by military considerations. It is naturally
protected by the Tigris river from the east and
the abundance of water encouraged the
construction of stable dwellings.(70-74)
Hotel adapte to muslim needs
There is a home away from home at the
Xiyuan Hotel in the Chinese capital
Beijing, where Muslims find the Koran in
Arabic and Chinese, on the table, and the
prayer mat turned towards Kibla
When I visited the BTG- Jianguo Group’s
stand at the BITE, I met Mr. Robert Wang,
head of the sales department and gave
him some issues of Islamic Tourism
Magazine. Smiling, he invited me to sit
down, and asked me: "Are you an Arab
Muslim?" I answered: "Yes". He asked me:
"Would you care to be my guest?". "With
pleasure ", I replied. He added: "Our hotel
group has a great interest in Arab and Muslim
businessmen, and I invite you to spend a few
days as our guest".
After touring the exhibition, we headed towards the Xiyuan, a five star
hotel, located close to the shopping centre and the exhibition. One can
go on foot to the restaurants,
supermarket and other services.
After checking in, we lunched at
the revolving restaurant on top
of the hotel, with a beautiful,
panoramic view of Beijing(76)
© A S Shakiry and TCPH Ltd.