Category Archives: Agents

Travelport reveals fastest-growing international destinations for KSA travellers

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Egypt, UAE and Turkey have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travellers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the last 12 months, according to analysis conducted by Travelport. Fastest-growing international destinations for KSA travellers booked through global distribution systems. This data is derived from Travelport’s interpretation of relevant MIDT data. It reflects bookings made in the KSA through GDS only. Additional booking will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence. From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, bookings made in the KSA through all global distribution systems (GDS) to Egypt increased by nearly 190,000, up 17% on the previous 12 months. Bookings to the UAE rose by over 70,000, up 13%, and to Turkey by just over 65,000, up 31%.  Global distribution systems (GDS) are vast hi-tech reservation networks that allow travel agents, travel management companies, and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel-related items. Matthew Powell, Travelport’s Managing Director  for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, said, “Growth in flight bookings tends to be driven by increased airline capacity, rises in demand from leisure trave”llers, economic and political advances, which attract more interest in trade and investment, and major construction projects that require large international labour forces. The results we’re seeing here cut across all of these.”

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Tamarind Global expands its base of operations to Dubai

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Tamarind Global has gone international by expanding its presence to Dubai, a huge source market for Indian weddings and events. The company already has a presence in Dubai for its tours vertical. It will now offer a bouquet of event and wedding services to support its domestic and international operations from the Dubai office. Weddings and events will be supported by destination selection, planning and budgeting, guest list and vendor management, hospitality, travel and logistics, décor, F&B, entertainment and fashion consultations for the bride and groom wear. Apart from this, MiCE events will also be supported. A team of two will start the base of operations at the Dubai office. Kunal Rai, Vice President – Events and Weddings, will head the Dubai vertical, “With the launch of our Dubai office, Tamarind now offers its services to a ‘global’ audience. We aim to lead the market by providing an all-inclusive bouquet of services to make each event unique, glamorous and memorable.” Elucidating on the reason for expanding to Dubai, he said, “With the progressive growth of the Middle East as a popular destination, Dubai is the best choice to set up a regional HQ. It will act as a start point that will drive maximum output to penetrate primarily the UAE and Middle East market.”

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Tune Protect inks deal with Jordan’s Pan North Insurance Agency

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Tune Protect recently partnered with Pan North Insurance Agency along with Jordan French Insurance to market travel insurance products in Jordan. The partnership further extends Tune Protect’s reach within the EMEIA region, after establishing itself in Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, India and Iraq. “We are excited with the prospects of our partnership with Pan North Insurance Agency. We are confident that the partnership will further strengthen our position as a leading travel insurance provider in Jordan,” said Arijit Munshi, General Manager, Tune Protect, EMEIA. Pan North Insurance Agency will be managing the marketing of various travel insurance products facilitated by Tune Protect, EMEIA, underwritten by JOFICO, through the online or digital channels managed by Tune Protect. “Jordan, with its rich history and robust tourism sector, is an important market for travel within the region. The innovative travel insurance products and solutions though our partnership with Tune Protect will allow Pan North Insurance Agency to offer more value-added services to the travel community in Jordan to serve the travellers coming into Jordan from anywhere in the world and traveling from Jordan, globally,” said Haya Al-Khalidi, General Manager, Pan North Insurance Agency.

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Abu Dhabi tourism hosts delegates from Thomas Cook India

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As part of the Department of Culture and Tourism–Abu Dhabi’s mandate to promote Abu Dhabi as a world-class destination of distinction, the capital welcomed travel agents from Thomas Cook India as part of a familiarisation trip to highlight key tourism offerings in the emirate. The five-day trip included a wide range of cultural, hospitality, leisure and entertainment activities showcasing Abu Dhabi’s diverse offerings, with a special focus on attracting Indian travellers. In 2017, more than 360,000 Indian hotel guests stayed in the emirate’s 163 hotels and hotel apartments – a year-on-year rise of 11 per cent – making India the second largest international source market for tourists in 2017. This collaborative trip’s main aim was to help boost Indian visitor numbers for this year. Delegates were taken to a variety of key heritage sites including Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Arabian Knight Village, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre and Al Ain Oasis. Hotel site visits were also an integral part of the itinerary. Additionally, the travel agents and tourism delegates were invited to experience leisure and entertainment attractions including day trips to Yas Island, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Mall.

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Salalah Rotana renews deal with European tour operator Itaka

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Salalah Rotana, a five-star hotel in Oman renewed its partnership deal with Polish tour operator Itaka. The deal directly complements the government’s effort in promoting Oman as a destination of choice to travellers. The renewed partnership will see 180 guests arrive weekly to the resort. Hossam Kamal, General Manager, Salalah Rotana Resort, said, “The renewal of our partnership signifies the success of our journey with Itaka. We pride ourselves in the level of service provided by our colleagues and achieving high guest satisfaction. The Sultanate’s appeal in terms of safety, political stability and unique tourism offering continues to be an attraction for travellers to Oman. Piotr Wrzesniewski, Charter Produce Director, Itaka said “Our journey with Salalah Rotana has been a very rewarding one. The resort has been a great holiday destination to our guests with exceptional service. Oman has gained popularity in the Polish market and it is our pleasure to facilitate the movement of our guests to Oman’’.

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Thumbay Group supports Dubai’s goal of 500,000 health tourists by 2020

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The Thumbay Group has vowed to support the goal of securing 500,000 health/medical tourists to Dubai by 2020. This was revealed at the recently-concluded 4th Annual Health & Medical Tourism Conference held at Hotel Hyatt Regency – Dubai Creek Heights and organised by Thumbay Medical Tourism in association with Thumbay Hospital. The conference brought together industry experts from healthcare, travel, medical tourism and medical education sectors. The half-day event highlighted the latest trends and developments in medical tourism and explored ways to boost health tourism the UAE. Speaking at the conference, Dr. Layla Mohamed AlMarzouqi, Director Dubai Health Tourism Council, said that Dubai is well-positioned to achieve its goal of welcoming half a million international patients by 2020, thanks to the support of key players in the private sector like the Thumbay Group, which announced its plans to attract 1,000 tourist per day to its facilities across the UAE. Dubai currently ranks number 1 in the Arab world and 16th globally, based on the 2016 Medical Tourism Index. In 2016, the number of health tourists visiting Dubai reached 326,649, an increase of 9.5 per cent compared to 298,359 the previous year. Top medical and health treatments sought by visitors to the emirate were orthopedics, dermatology, dental, fertility, health and wellness, ophthalmology and aesthetics. Akbar Moideen Thumbay, Vice President of the Healthcare Division of Thumbay Group, reiterated the conglomerate’s commitment to Dubai’s plans of becoming an international hub for health tourism, by adding three new hospitals, five clinics, 15 pharmacies and five diagnostic labs to its existing network.

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Expedia hosts Wanderlust Summit in Dubai

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Expedia Lodging Partner Services (LPS) hosted its Annual Wanderlust Summit in Dubai. Over 300 delegates and partners across Expedia’s network in the Middle East attended the event. The summit was hosted by Johan Svanstrom, President of Hotels.com and Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN), Ait Voncke, Vice President Europe Middle East Africa Market Management and Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management – Middle East, Africa, Greece and Turkey. Expedia presented the latest technologies to their hotel partners through Expedia Partner Central that allow them to connect to customers. This toolkit of technology, marketing and data offerings is designed to help hotel partners drive knowledge and efficiencies to grow their business through the leveraging of data to optimise revenue. Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management Middle East, Indian Ocean, Africa, Greece and Turkey at Expedia said, “We are thrilled to host our annual Wanderlust conference in the presence of our Dubai hotels partners. With the sharing and exchange of knowledge we believe we can help our hotel partners better leverage trends and plan to anticipate and respond to travellers’ needs.”

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AviaReps to promote Baltic and Scandinavian states in ME

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AviaReps has been appointed by Latvia’s Spare Travel as the agency to promote travel to the Baltic states, Scandinavia and Finland from the Middle East. The appointment, which has immediate effect, is the result of Spare Travel’s international outreach programme to engage and provide customised, VIP travel solutions for Middle Eastern travellers seeking authentic, unique and bespoke Northern European travel experiences. The appointment is also timely as it was made on the heels of airBaltic airlines’ launch of direct non-stop flights from Abu Dhabi to Latvia’s capital Riga on October 30, 2017. To celebrate the launch, Spare Travel is offering special promotional travel packages to discover Latvia based around the themes of Castles, Chocolate and Culture. Many UAE travel agencies have been quick to offer promotional packages to Latvia as a new must-see destination. The direct flight from Abu Dhabi with airBaltic takes just over six hours, thereby making Latvia perfect for a long weekend getaway.

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IATI to power international expansion with Travelport

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Travelport announced the signing of a new, extended agreement with IATI Travel, based in Turkey. Travelport will support its operations while extending the geographical reach of the partnership to cover Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The company’s high performance is powered by Travelport Universal API (uAPI) technology. This aggregates the most comprehensive content from multiple sources, including national and low-cost carriers, branded fares and ancillary services, as well as unique hotel properties, rail and car rental. Levent Aydın, Chairman of the Board, IATI, said, “We are impressed by Travelport’s customer-driven solution which provides highly efficient tools for our agents. We are pleased to have Travelport as our preferred technology partner and have great confidence in its extensive reach and expertise.” Rabih Saab, President and Managing Director, Europe, Africa, Middle East and South Asia, Travelport added: “We are delighted to support the fastest growing OTA in Turkey as it continues its global expansion. Our partnership with IATI has flourished since 2012 and we are looking to further power its success and expansion across new territories.”

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Apple Pay on Etihad

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Etihad Airways is now providing its customers Apple Pay, transforming mobile payments with a fast, secure and convenient way to pay for flights and travel. Available on the Etihad Airways mobile app, Apple Pay allows customers, for the first time in the UAE, to pay securely with just a touch of a finger. Etihad Airways’ customers can now buy flights and other products such as ‘Extra Legroom Seats’, ‘Preferred Seats’ and excess baggage with their iPhone or iPad by simply touching a button. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code. Justin Warby, Vice President Digital Strategy and Innovation, Etihad Airways, said, “We are proud to partner with Apple Pay to bring the latest mobile payment and technology innovations to our guests in the UAE and around the world. We were able to quickly adjust the release cycle of our mobile app to ensure we coincided our launch with Apple in the UAE.” Apple Pay is easy to set up and users will continue to receive all of the rewards and benefits offered by credit and debit cards.

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