Dubai – MENA Herald: Connections, a division of London-headquartered Travel Weekly Group, has appointed a regional director to develop its presence in the Middle East. Al Ketbi consultancy, a regional tourism consultancy firm and represented by Gamal Sadek has been brought in to lead the events company’s growth strategy in the region.

Gamal, who is the general manager of the Al Ketbi Consultancy since 2008, will focus on deepening the Connections’ footprint and its brand awareness in both the luxury travel and Mice sectors in the Gulf. Connections’ inaugural Middle East event was held in September at the Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi, with the support of Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism Authority and the African Travel Trade Association.

Micaela Giacobbe, Connections’ founder & director of commercial events, said: “Gamal’s appointment as regional director is an important step in the evolution of our business. The Middle East is without question one of the most important regions for luxury and Mice travel. The decision to grow the team therefore demonstrates our belief in the region’s potential and our commitment to bringing together its most senior buyers and sellers.”

Gamal added: “I had no hesitation joining the Connections’ team. Its reputation for excellence has been steadily growing over the last year. I will bring value to the organisation by engaging with and servicing partners locally. The Middle East region is of huge strategic importance to both the luxury travel and Mice market sectors.”

Trisha Warwick, regional vice president of sales and marketing for the Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi, said: “As hostess of its most recent event in the Middle East, I believe the decision to appoint Gamal to this newly created role will strengthen Connections’ position in the marketplace. I very much look forward to working with Gamal on future projects.”

Until 2008 Sadek held a number of key sales and marketing positions in the travel industry. His CV includes tenures at Sheraton, Ritz Carlton and Taj Group. Gamal is a fluent French, English and Arabic speaker, with university qualifications from France, Switzerland and the UK.  

He is an expert in destination marketing, business strategy, technology application, e-business and market research techniques.