Category Archives: Agents

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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Al-Futtaim Travel opens its new Travel Centre in Dubai

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As part of its efforts to enhance customer experience, Al-Futtaim Travel, has opened its Travel Centre in Dubai. Located next to Al Ghurair Centre in Deira, the new Centre, which is now a multichannel operation, will cater to both corporate and leisure/retail customers and will see the Al-Futtaim company providing services including Corporate travel services, Holidays – Outbound and Inbound, Destination Management services and travel related value-add services under one roof. Commenting on the opening, Biju Antony, Deputy General Manager, Al-Futtaim Travel, said, “We are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to enhance our customer experience and the launch of the new Travel Centre is a big step forward in that direction. The new Centre will provide our corporate and leisure/retail customers with a one-stop-shop for all their travel needs and our expert travel team can develop and deliver globally benchmarked services to meet every requirement.” Alongside the opening of the Travel Centre, Al-Futtaim Travel also launched its enhanced website, alfuttaimtravel.com, where customers can book special deals and holiday packages to thousands of destinations around the world at competitive rates. In addition, Al-Futtaim Travel will also soon launch an e-commerce facility where customers can book their holiday packages and varied travel related services from the comfort of their home.

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Travelport announces new leadership in Americas and EMEA

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Travelport has announced two new leadership for its Agency Commerce teams in the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). In the Americas, Simon Ferguson will become Managing Director, Agency Commerce for the region which spans the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Ferguson takes over from Bret Kidd who will be taking an alternative role within Travelport. Simon will relocate from London, where he currently oversees Travelport’s Northern Europe region and will be based in Atlanta from July 1. Ferguson is a graduate of Sheffield University whose earlier career included leadership positions in travel technology and media before joining Travelport in 2011. In 2017, Travelport’s revenue in the Americas was over $700m. In EMEA, Damian Hickey will take on the role of Managing Director, Agency Commerce following the departure of Rabih Saab earlier this year.  Hickey will take up the role from June 1 and will relocate to Travelport’s Langley, UK base from Singapore, where he currently oversees Travelport’s Air Commerce business in the Asia-Pacific region. Hickey has been at Travelport since 2012 in a number of leadership roles. He is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and has worked in the travel technology sector for over twenty years. In 2017, Travelport’s revenue in the region exceeded $1bn.

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Amadeus releases ‘Middle East Consumer Travel Report 2018’ at ATM

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 Unveiled at the Arabian Travel Market, the ‘Middle East Consumer Travel Report 2018’ by Amadeus explores searching and planning habits of the region’s travellers in a digital era. The study suggests that the search for value plays a decisive role in how today’s travellers research, compare and book their journeys in this part of the world. The report acknowledges that the Middle East travel market is incredibly diverse when it comes to travel patterns. Cost is cited most often by travellers (50%) as the first consideration when selecting their accommodation — more important than hotel location, classification, or rating. Similarly, almost half of travellers (46%) cite budget as a main factor when choosing flights, more so than airline reputation and even the itinerary. As a result, one in three (33%) travellers today “actively search” for discounts online during the shopping process. While value is a key driver in travel decisions, consumers in the Middle East are open to being influenced when searching for their destination. However, the expectations from traditional travel advisors are changing, most travellers now visit a travel site or agency when they are ready to book, not when they are still planning their trip.

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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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