Category Archives: Agents

Emirates Holidays becomes official tour operator for AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019

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Emirates Holidays has partnered up with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to become the official tour operator for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. The 17th edition of the continent’s prestigious football tournament will take place in the United Arab Emirates between January 5, 2019 and February 1, 2019.  Through the partnership, Emirates Holidays offers a broad range of excellent value packages to football fans traveling to Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah to support their teams. Each package includes match ticket(s), accommodation and return flights with Emirates Airline. Robin Parry, Vice President, Emirates Holidays, said, “We are thrilled to become the official tour operator of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. Starting from today, supporters can seamlessly book match ticket, flight and accommodation with Emirates Holidays and enjoy the excellent travel experience our award-winning airline and reputable hotel partners offer. We see exciting opportunities for the company in sport tourism and continue to seek ways to accommodate the growing demand. We look forward to welcoming our football fan customers in the UAE.” Dato’ Windsor John, General Secretary, Asian Football Confederation, said, “Asian football continues to make giant strides on the world stage and the remarkable growth and stature of the AFC Asian Cup exemplifies the undeniable progress of football in the Continent. Emirates have been a long-standing partner of the AFC and we would like to thank them for their firm belief in the development and ever-improving proposition of Asian football.

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Arrival flights around Mecca up 20% ahead of Hajj: Travelport

Matt Powell

As of July 2018, arrival flights around the holy city of Mecca ahead of this year’s Hajj were up 20 per cent when compared to the last year’s pilgrimage, according to an analysis conducted by Travelport. With Hajj being one of the five pillars of Islam, all Muslims are obliged to make the Islamic pilgrimage at least once in their lifetimes if they have the means to do so. Over five days, it involves undertaking a series of rituals including trekking through the desert and drinking water from a holy well. Every year, in excess of one million people from all over the world fly into western Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, making it one of the largest annual spikes in global air traffic. To manage numbers from overseas, Saudi Arabia sets quotas for countries based on their population of Muslims. Local governments and/or private travel companies then allocate places for citizens. This year, the pilgrimage begins this weekend and concludes on the first day of Eid AlAdha. During this period, in total, as many as three million pilgrims are expected to participate. With such vast numbers involved, pilgrims start arriving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as early as one month before the official start of Hajj to avoid the crowds at holy sites and prepare for the pilgrimage. Due to their proximity to relevant locations, the three airports pilgrims tend to fly into are: King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah; Ta’if Regional Airport, Ta’if; and Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Medina.

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dnata enters German market by acquisition of Tropo

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dnata has acquired Tropo, a Germany-based tour operator, from ProSiebenSat.1 Group. The acquisition marks dnata’s entry into the German market and extends its global network of travel businesses in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia. The purchase agreement also includes TV media volume worth several million euros for 2018 and 2019. The contract parties agreed not to disclose the details of the acquisition, which is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities. Tropo is a dynamic tour operator for low-cost and high-quality travel packages, last-minute holidays and hotel reservations offering up to 200 million vacation options every day. ProSiebenSat.1 has held a majority stake in Tropo GmbH since 2012. In the roughly six years it has belonged to the media group, the tour operator has increased its brand awareness significantly through the use of TV advertising. The company has successfully defended its position against the challenging market environment in its highly-competitive travel segment over the past years. Iain Andrew, Divisional Senior Vice President, Travel Services, dnata, said, “We are delighted with this opportunity to have Tropo become part of dnata travel. This acquisition enables us to enter the important and valuable German travel market, and enhances our portfolio of travel services in Europe. We see potential for significant synergies between Tropo and our other travel businesses around the world to provide very attractive and unique offerings to inbound and outbound travellers to and from Germany.

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Al Ghazal Travel inks deal with Sabre to boost growth

L-R Ahmed and Ramzi

Al Ghazal Travel, a leading travel agency in KSA, has appointed Sabre Corporation as its technology partner to support its expansion strategy, provide more personalised travel services and improve customer satisfaction. Under this agreement, Al Ghazal Travel will have access to Sabre’s marketplace of more than 420 airlines, 750,000 hotel properties and hundreds of tour operators, rail, car and cruise providers, enabling it to sell personalised travel packages from suppliers all over the world. The agency accesses the marketplace through the new Sabre Red Workspace (nSRW), which makes it simple to shop, book and manage travel content. “We started in KSA in the seventies and are known for our uncompromised level of service and passion for technology,” said Ahmed Taleb Al Ghazal, General Manager, Al Ghazal Travel Agency. “Today, we are eyeing regional expansion and wanted a reliable partner to help us thrive and grow; Sabre has the right innovative technology, global expertise and dedicated team to help us achieve our ambitious plan.” “Al Ghazal Travel is a dynamic agency with the potential to tap into the region’s huge increase in travel demand,” said Ramzi Al Qassab, Regional Commercial Director and Global Partners, STNME. “Sabre’s worldwide network of travel suppliers will help Al Ghazal to offer a wealth of choice to its travellers, spearheading it towards competing with the industry’s global players.”

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RwandAir and Cozmo Travel ink deal as offline partners

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RwandAir has recently appointed Cozmo Travel as its Passenger General Sales Agent (GSA) for the GCC countries (Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (Offline). “These strategic partnerships play a very important role especially for airlines entering new markets and the practice is that airlines look competitively for established and well known GSA’s when entering particular markets which saves airlines associated costs for new market entry and, or development such as infrastructure, human resource etc while focusing on results. We are already established in the UAE, flying into and out of Dubai and we do cover the entire UAE market from a passenger and cargo sales perspective. This partnership is part of a growth strategy, though offline and it gives us an opportunity to assess the GCC markets for any other decisions in the future,” stated  Timothy Njihia, Country Manager—UAE | GCC | Pakistan, RwandAir.” Jamal Abdulnazar, CEO, Cozmo Travel stated, “With Cozmo Travel’s extensive retail presence in all the GCC countries, RwandAir will be able to capitalise on Cozmo’s  network in the region ensuring a wider market reach. Likewise Cozmo will be able to represent and sell the various RwandAir destinations within the African continent as well their expanding network into Asia and Europe. With a significant population of African nationals working and residing in the GCC region, the focus will be to capitalize on the large network of destinations within the African continent served by RwandAir.”

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Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi theme park opens in Abu Dhabi

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Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first-ever Warner Bros branded indoor theme park was inaugurated by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The park was developed by Miral, Abu Dhabi’s creator of destinations, in partnership with Warner Bros Entertainment, with an investment of US $1 billion. Their Highnesses attended the official inauguration ceremony, which took place in the Warner Bros Plaza at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi. The ceremony included the first screening of the Warner Bros Cinema Spectacular, a captivating show that brings Warner Bros.’ unparalleled film library to life. Guests were also treated to a series of festive celebrations incorporating the park’s beloved characters. HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi said, “The choice of Yas Island as the home for the world’s first indoor Warner Bros theme park, celebrating such an iconic and beloved brand, reflects so positively on Abu Dhabi’s global status and its ability to attract international tourism investments. This step is further evidence of the plans we are enacting to attract more visitors to the emirate as it moves further towards a diversified economy; indoor theme parks are a proven summer attraction for families”.

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Dubai Parks signs agreement with Dubai Taxi Corporation to promote the emirate

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Dubai Parks and Resorts has signed an greement with Dubai Taxi Corporation to promote the destination to visitors arriving at Dubai International Airport terminals 1,2 and 3. The joint campaign will commence on August 1, 2018 offering visitors an exclusive limited-time offer to enjoy two of their preferred theme parks for the price of AED 235. As part of the agreement, Dubai Taxi Corporation will dedicate 100 branded family taxis to be assigned to arrival terminals 1, 2 and 3 at Dubai International Airport. The designated family taxis will be branded with Dubai Parks and Resorts imagery, including danglers and flyers inside the vehicles. The Taxi drivers will take on the role of Dubai Parks and Resorts ambassadors, welcoming passengers, briefing them about the entertainment destination, and handing them the exclusive offer flyers. Passengers can book the offer using the QR codes available on the flyers through the ticketing windows at any of the theme parks. The exclusive limited-time offer gives Dubai Taxi passengers the opportunity to enjoy a full day of fun at two of the four theme parks within Dubai Parks and Resorts, for the price of AED 235. Bollywood Parks Dubai, the first of its kind in the world, offers guests an authentic Bollywood experience through its themed rides and attractions, MotiongateDubai brings some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters to life through 27 action-packed rides and attractions including five roller coasters, while Legoland Dubai offers families an interactive experience in a playful learning environment and Legoland Water Park – perfect for beating the summer heat.

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Ukraine opens visa application centres in Saudi Arabia

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The Embassy of Ukraine has opened two visa application centres in Riyadh and Jeddah to efficiently serve travellers from Ukraine in partnership with VFS Global. In a joint statement, VFS Global and the Embassy said that both the centres have started accepting visa application submissions for processing both short-term and long-term visas to Ukraine. Opening the visa application centre, Head of Consular Section of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HE Yurii Tereschenko said, “The new visa application centres have been opened in the light of increasing number of travellers to Ukraine from Saudi Arabia. The centres will considerably ease the visa application process providing streamlined service to expatriates from the Kingdom wishing to travel to Ukraine for both tourism and business purposes.” The inauguration of the centre was done in the presence of HE Serhii Pushkarsky, Deputy Head of Mission and Bohdan Kostiuk, Consular Assistant of the Embassy of Ukraine. The opening of the visa application centres follows the VFS Global mandate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Under the terms of the contract, VFS Global is entrusted with the opening of 10 visa application centres in eight countries across the Middle East, Levant region and South Asia. Commenting on the launch, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO for Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “We are confident that the opening of the Ukraine visa application centre in Saudi Arabia will help catalyse travel to the East European country from the Kingdom.

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Collinson signs exclusive lounge operator deals with Muscat and Dammam

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Collinson has announced two new, exclusive partnerships to bring additional lounge access to its customers in the Middle East. The new relationships means Collinson customers will have the opportunity to make use of the Primeclass Lounge at the newly opened Terminal at Muscat International Airport in Oman, and the naSmiles Lounge at Dammam King Fahd International in Saudi Arabia. Through an exclusive partnership with TAV, Collinson customers now have access to the Primeclass Lounge, the only independent lounge at Muscat International. The lounge is located airside on the second floor and is accessible to all customers 24/7. The lounge’s décor and styling is based on a reinterpretation of Oman’s traditional architecture and distinctive landscapes, reflecting the beauty of the country while combining comfort with utility. A range of facilities catering for leisure and business customers make it the perfect place for Collinson’s customers to relax and unwind before a flight. The naSmiles Lounge, a brand-new addition to one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest airports, is located airside, on the ground floor next to Gate 16. It is open 24/7 to domestic passengers only. Priyanka Lakhani, Regional Commercial Director, Middle East, Africa and India at Collinson, the operator of Priority Pass, commented: “These new partnerships demonstrate our commitment to providing lounge access to our customers all over the world. The newly opened terminal at Muscat International is a key hub for the Middle East and is fast becoming a go to destination for business travelers, while the brand-new lounge at King Fahd International provides a sanctuary for travelers with its modern design and spacious layout.”

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Cleartrip acquires Saudi travel aggregator Flyin

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Cleartrip has agreed to buy Saudi Arabia-based Flyin to strengthen its control in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which is home to a large population of tech-savvy consumers. Together, the combined company will have over 60 per cent market share throughout the Middle East. This transaction, the largest in the travel space in MENA, will offer Cleartrip a wider outreach and a larger client base in a key market, providing economies of scale as well as enhanced competencies and regional knowledge. Cleartrip has recorded rapid growth year-on-year since the company launched its regional operations in 2012 to become the largest OTA in Middle East. Stuart Crighton, Founder and CEO of Cleartrip, said, “We are pushing ahead with our ambitious expansion plans in the MENA region, and together with Flyin, we have reached a major milestone in our journey. The deal represents the culmination of our search for a strategic partner that has outstanding market association in Saudi Arabia and shares our business ethos and principles. Building on Saudi Arabia’s evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem, Flyin has firmly established itself as the leading player in the Kingdom’s online travel market. With its strong customer base and rich travel offerings, Flyin is the natural partner for us in the region. We will leverage each other’s strengths to enhance product development and customer experience.”

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