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International Travel Catering Association to unveil innovative new flight catering product on first day of SIAL Middle East 2012 conference; industry to welcome Mercury Awards to the region for first Middle East event in 30-year history

Abu Dhabi, November 24 2012: The International Travel Catering Association (ITCA) is marking its regional exhibition debut as part of SIAL Middle East 2012, with a line-up of top experts from across the industry and series of interactive events and networking opportunities during the three-day event.

Taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 26-28 November, ITCA will welcome over 70 exhibitors from across the air, sea and rail sectors, including companies such as De Ster, Driessen Aerospace Group Nv, Fly Hidrate, Linstol and Sola.

Opening the three-day conference programme on 26 November, Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Airways, will deliver the keynote address as the Middle East’s aviation sector pushes ahead with long-term strategic growth plans as regional governments commit to ongoing infrastructure investment.

ITCA’s Professor Peter Jones, the world’s first professor of travel catering, published author, hospitality management consultant and the current Brahim Professor at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, will lead the Private Label Forum sessions on day one of the event, with an analysis of the development process for new products and services in the rapidly evolving travel catering sector. In a first for the industry, he will also unveil a band new flight catering product being jointly developed in partnership with ITCA.

“If we look at the overall food services picture, travel catering is a core component that offers incredible scope for development in the coming years as local and regional airlines expand their route networks and fleet capacity, and cruise sector growth also raises the profile of the region from a culinary standpoint,” said Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee for SIAL Middle East and ADFCA’s Official Spokesperson.

“The ITCA focused conference sessions offer delegates a unique opportunity to really drill down to the nuts and bolts of what makes the industry tick, and will be an invaluable forum for the exchange of ideas and experience in order to address the hot topics of today and capitalise on existing and new business opportunities in the region,” he added.

Also representing ITCA at the conference sessions, Nina Da Costa, Consulting Manager, Diversey, will speak at the Food & Beverage Forum on 27 November. A health and safety expert, with extensive experience in the design and development of training and auditing services in quality, food safety and environment management systems, Da Costa will share insight into understanding the latest food safety standards and discuss compliance.

ITCA’s conference participation will also be complemented by several exciting social and business focused networking occasions including the eagerly anticipated gala dinner and Mercury Awards, which will be held at the Shangri-La Hotel on 27 November.

The industry’s Oscars equivalent, companies from across the spectrum of travel catering consider the prestigious Mercury Awards as the ultimate global accolade. The awards cover six categories from recognition for excellence in On Board Service and Skills Development, to Equipment and Innovation; with the judging panel including executives from Etihad Airways, DHL, British Airways, Diversey and Qatar Airways.


“In a coup for ITCA Abu Dhabi, we are bringing the Mercury Awards to the region for the very first time. Now in its 30th year, the awards were introduced to reward innovation, and with the Gulf region continually expanding the realms of opportunity and connectivity across air, sea and rail, this is exactly where they need to be,” said Stephen White, ITCA President.


ITCA Abu Dhabi, which is sponsored by Etihad Airways and held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), will also host a welcome cocktail party, sponsored by Etihad Airways, on 26 November, and will wrap up the week with a golf day on 29 November.

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