Category Archives: Agents

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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Over 200 top sellers from Russia hosted in Dubai

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Leading Russian tour operator Natalie Tours held its 12th Annual Congress at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. The event brought together over 200 CEOs and owners of Russian travel agencies with the best sales performance in UAE during the past year. The meet was hosted under the patronage of Gocha Buachidze, Consul General of Russian Federation in Dubai; Ahmed Khalifa Al Falasi, CEO of Support Services, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Vladimir Vorobiev – President, Natalie tours; among other dignitaries. The event awarded the best sellers, discussed further cooperation with top managers of retail companies, motivated its partners to promote the travel direction and increase sales of Natalie Tours’ services in the UAE. The top players of the Russian tourist market expressed confidence that the plans had every chance to be implemented. According to the tour operator, the major factor driving up the demand for UAE tours is the abolition of entry visas for Russian citizens that came into effect last February.

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Abu Dhabi attracts Russian visitors by 49 per cent

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Russian guests jumped by 49 per cent from January to August as compared to the same period in 2016. A roadshow to Moscow and St Petersburg led by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism resulted in a surge in visitors into the emirate from Russia. Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism Sector, Department of Culture and Tourism, said, “Since visa restrictions were lifted on our Russian visitors at the start of the year into the country visas now granted on arrival, we have witnessed an upsurge into the emirate, both from Russia and from counties within the Commonwealth of Independent States, with both markets together showing significant growth.” Leading Russian tour operators, travel agents and trade partners were representatives from key partners in Abu Dhabi. The delegation included Etihad Airways, Rotana Hotel Group, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Intercontinental Abu Dhabi, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Hilton Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace, St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, Yas Viceroy, City Season, Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi and Gromaxx Hotel Management.

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Amway India partners with Arabian Adventures

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Amway India selected Arabian Adventures, Meetings, Incentives and Events, the region’s leading destination management company, to plan, conceptualise and deliver the largest incentive group from the country to visit the UAE– in excess of 4,000 distributors, in December 2017. The event will comprise a one-day business conference with Amway’s top international management, new product launches and a series of multi-cuisine events, engagements and entertainment held at venues across the city. Aikta Tyagi, Associate Vice President – Special Events and Facilities for Amway India said, “Over the last six months, we’ve worked with Arabian Adventures, Meetings, Incentives and Events to design a unique and exciting itinerary for our distributors, with the MICE team bringing a freshness to the table. It’s been a wonderful journey and we are confident that our event in December will be a great success.” Justine Thomas-Butler, Head of Meetings, Incentives and Events for Arabian Adventures also said of the partnership, “Delivering an incentive on this scale takes a special set of skills. You need to give guests and their families a true insight into this special part of the world – its people, ancient culture and modern wonders, whilst still making it feel intimate, unique and exciting.”

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1st Outbound Travel Bazaar in Abu Dhabi

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The first Outbound Travel Bazaar was held in Abu Dhabi at InterContinental Hotel on September 21, 2017. The brainchild of travel expert Mario Anthony, Proprietor, Luxury Connections, the event saw participation from buyers hailing from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The Ambassador of Finland stated that this was the first time that Finland was promoting the destination for MICE sector and that they were able to have many buyers with genuine inquiries as the destination is currently an emerging market for the UAE. The show started off with an interactive session with two experts in the field of travel followed by B2B sessions. The B2B meetings were a closed door event and allowed ample time for both buyers and sellers to connect.

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‘Dubai Expert’ training programme now in 12 languages & 40 countries

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Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), has launched its “Dubai Expert” online training initiative for travel agents in 12 languages and 40 countries, taking this innovative game to a wider travel trade audience internationally, as part of efforts to highlight the multiple experiences that await visitors to Dubai across leisure, shopping, cuisine, culture, family entertainment, and more. The development and roll-out of the Dubai Expert initiative was managed by the Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), an institution of Dubai Tourism. The tool features an engaging interface that includes information on Dubai’s tourism attractions, allowing travel agents to develop their skills and keep up to date with the latest tourism developments in Dubai. The training platform also helps agents to provide potential tourists with customised and unique experiences. ‘Dubai Expert’ was introduced in English during this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in April, attracting an overwhelming response from travel agents. Following the positive feedback shown by travel companies around the world, Dubai Tourism developed the tool in a further 11 languages – French, Mandarin, Russian, German, Italian, Bahasa, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Czech, and Spanish – and launched it in 40 countries alongside the English version. Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said, “Dubai Expert was developed to assist the international travel trade in keeping up to date with all the destination updates in Dubai and ensure that all travel agents and tour operators have a sound knowledge of the emirate that they are trying to promote. Dubai Expert is also part of our continued investment in new technology and facilities that could help boost tourist arrivals in line with our strategic goal of …

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Traveltek launches Middle East operation

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Traveltek Group has launched its Middle East operation. The UK-based firm, which counts global travel brands such as Virgin Holidays, Flight Centre and dnata, as well as its sister companies, Imagine Cruises and Global Travel Group, amongst its roster of big-name clients, has established an office in Dubai and appointed two highly-experienced travel technology professionals to lead its Gulf expansion strategy. Vinod Singh comes on board as Regional Manager, Middle East and India and Vivek Katheriya joins the team as Regional Sales Manager, India and MENA. Both recruits bring vast Middle East travel technology experience to their roles, having worked for reputable industry players. Between them, Singh and Katheriya are targeting the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, all markets where travel agents, tour operators and wholesalers in are in urgent need of sophisticated travel technology to help drive efficiencies, boost sales and meet the complex demands of their customers. “Given our proven track record delivering a powerful and successful selling platform to the international travel trade, we are well positioned to harness the healthy growth of the GCC travel and tourism industry, ” said Peter Whittle, Global Sales Director, Traveltek. “Our global expertise, combined with the market and technology experience demonstrated by Vinod and Vivek, will ensure we can cater to the needs of the region’s travel trade now and in the future, particularly as demand for dynamic packaging and cruise booking solutions grows at a rapid rate. The web-based technology enables agencies and tour operators to package and sell complex itineraries that include flights, hotels, tours, transfers, car rental, cruises, attractions tickets and more. Companies can also package their own stock, third-party stock, or a mixture of …

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VFS Global acquires visa service provider TT Services

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VFS Global has completed the acquisition of visa service provider TT Services (TTS). The transaction enables VFS Global to leverage on core competences and brands and to further enhance operating performance. TT Services is a provider of integrated visa processing solutions with global presence and a comprehensive portfolio of services. TT Services is headquartered in the United Kingdom and has a strong and long-lasting relationship with its client governments and with a commercial partner. The company operates 51 application centres in more than 35 countries and has 216 employees. TTS offers a full range of high quality visa services for its client governments, partners and applicants. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group, commented: “TT Services has, like VFS Global, extended industry experience of more than 15 years and is a trusted service delivery partner for its clients. I see a strong fit by TTS joining VFS Global. This will enable us to further enhance and extend our services towards our client governments and visa applicants.” The change of control will have no bearing on the business operations of the parties and act as a catalyst to improved services and enhanced client and customer satisfaction.

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