Category Archives: Agents

50 per cent rise in ME medical tourists to Korea

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Medical tourists from the Middle East region to Korea increased by over 50 per cent annually, with UAE patients averaging medical expense (per patient) is $13,560, which is comparatively higher than average medical expense per patient of $1,970, stated officials from the Korean National Tourism Organization. This year the Korea National Tourism Organisation, the state-run tourism organisation, in cooperation with the Financial News, a leading South Korean newspaper company, opened a two day event at the Intercontinental hotel Abu Dhabi “the Korea Medical Tourism Convention,” a medical tourism exhibition which gathered 16 Korean health establishments, government departments and medical agencies to promote attractive and reasonable medical & travel combo packages for patients wishing to seek medical treatment in world-class healthcare facilities in South Korea. The slogan for the event was ‘Care by Heart, Visit Medical Korea!’ According to the Korea National Tourism Organization, South Korea hosted 296,889 medical tourists from over 190 countries in 2015, reflecting an increase of 11.4 per cent from the 266,501 patients in 2014 and the 211,218 patients in 2013. The growth complements the plan of receiving one million international patients by the end of 2020. Korea offers a blend of high-quality care with high-tech techniques and procedures at prices far less than its counterparts in Europe, Japan and the United States (US). The country has become one of the leaders in organ transplants and cancer treatments throughout the world due to its superior techniques in curing severe conditions such as brain disease, cardiac disorders and cancer. Korea is also ranked the highest for five-year survival rates of cancer treatment patients over Canada, Japan and the US. The health industry in Korea also surpass the US …

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Musafir.com launches online visa in UAE

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Musafir.com has launched the online visa application service. Tourist visas to the UAE and 14 other destinations can now be directly applied on musafir.com and have their travel documentation processed and completed with no hassle. They are the first travel provider in the GCC region to introduce this service online. Under the simplified procedure, applicants submit their application documentation and payment directly on to the website post which the visa will be processed and emailed back to the customer, ready to be shown at the immigration section of the airport. This new product is expected to increase in inbound as well as outbound travel. This new product launch aligns with the UAE’s ambitious Vision 2021 that encompasses all elements that lay the foundation of a smart city, inclusive of the smarter travel industry. With the recent change in the UAE visa norms for GCC expats, travellers into the UAE from the GCC countries will now have to apply for their visa prior to their travel. With this product flexibility, there will be a noticeable shift of visa applications online.

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SCTDA on roadshow drive in India

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Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) and Hamriyah Free Zone both launched new marketing roadshows targeting India during the past few days, building on a busy year of promotion activities by Sharjah authorities. The SCTDA kicked off a four-city roadshow in Mumbai this week, which also visits New Delhi, Chandigarh and Bengaluru (Bangalore). The roadshow introduces seven Sharjah hotels, two destination management companies, plus leading budget carrier Air Arabia, to key Indian outbound tour operators and other industry contacts. Trade, investment and tourism from India have become a top priority for Sharjah, as its trade promotion organisations campaign widely to capitalise on growing interest in the emirate. Meanwhile, a delegation from Hamriyah Free Zone, headed by Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone), met with business leaders in Delhi a few days ago. Hamriyah Free Zone and SAIF Zone have both organised an extensive calendar of trade and investment promotion campaigns in India this year, visiting all major commercial centres in the country. Benefits such as 100 percent ownership, tax exemptions and allowing companies to repatriate 100 percent capital and profits have made the free zones very popular with Indian businesses. According to official estimates, about 7,000 of the 15,000 companies operating out of the two free zones are owned and controlled by Indian investors.

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Qatar Airways & Orange County hold seminar for agents

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Over 50 travel agents and tour operators from Dubai and Sharjah attended the Educational seminar session conducted by Qatar Airways and Orange County. The event took place at Raffles Dubai in association with AVIAREPS the representative for ME region for Orange County. They shared the importance of the destination and the many facilities, language, social etiquette etc to welcome guests from the ME region. Glenn Johnston, Vice President Corporate Communications & Public Relations, GM, UAE/Middle East, AVIAREPS, reiterated key ways to reach out to the clients with the many value added options with the one year partnership with Qatar Airways. They also launched the special privilege e-card for the travel agents and tour operators.

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Musafir.com opens branch at DIFC

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The UAE’s first premium-experience travel website Musafir.com inaugurated a new flagship branch at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). With a specific focus on the corporate travel segment, the new branch located in the heart of Dubai’s financial district is expected to increase Musafir.com’s corporate travel bookings by 35 per cent over a period of next six months. With the recently upgraded online corporate tool that helps organisations manage their employees travel with ease, Musafir.com expects to see tremendous growth in their corporate clientele.  This follows 60 per cent growth in Musafir.com’s corporate travel bookings since January 2015. The new Musafir.com store was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development and Co-founder of Musafir.com, in the presence of Sachin Gadoya, Managing Director and Co-founder of Musafir.com, and Saleh Al Akrabi, CEO of DIFC. The inauguration marks the 12th store opening for Musafir.com in the UAE – one of six new store openings lined up before the end of 2016 –and represents a key milestone in the travel provider’s ambitious regional expansion strategy.

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Travelport signs multi-year deal with Egypt-based travel group

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Travelport has signed a new multi-year agreement with East West Travel Group, an Egypt-based travel agency. The East West Travel Group has over 30 years of operational experience, and specializes in corporate travel. The East West Travel Group has also now become the sole representative of BCD Travel in Egypt. BCD Travel is a leading global corporate travel management company with over 13,000 employees worldwide and total sales in 2015 of $25.4 billion. To mark the occasion Travelport sponsored a partnership event with East West Travel Group and BCD Travel in Egypt at the Baron Palace Garden, a historic attraction in the suburb of Heliopolis, Cairo. The event brought together some of the leading players from the Egyptian travel industry from the airline, hotel and government spaces.  The event was attended by His Excellency Mohamed Yehia Rashed, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism. As a result of the agreement, East West Travel Group and BCD Travel will now be able to access and utilize Travelport’s unrivalled travel content – including the branded fares and ancillaries from the world’s leading airlines and low cost carriers, as well as over 650,000 hotel properties, all from within the travel agent’s workflow. Travelport has established itself as a key technology partner in the Egyptian travel industry and today’s announcement with East West Travel and BCD Travel further reinforces Travelport’s brand awareness in the region.

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Etihad Aviation Group & TUI in talks to create new airline group

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Etihad Aviation Group and TUI AG have confirmed they are in discussions to create a strong European leisure airline group, focused on point-to-point flying to connect key tourist markets. It is proposed to contribute the touristic operations of the airberlin group and the German TUIfly company, including the aircraft currently operated by TUIfly for airberlin under a wet-lease agreement, into a new airline group established by TUI and Etihad Aviation Group. This new airline group would serve a broad network of destinations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The leisure airline group will be supported by the expertise of Etihad Aviation Group, the fastest-growing aviation group in the world, and utilise TUI’s state-of-the-art distribution capacity. TUI AG, Etihad Aviation Group and Air Berlin PLC intend to finalise an in-principle agreement in due course. Any agreement entered into will be subject to all necessary corporate and regulatory approvals.

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Night Tours in Dubai by Yellow Boats in October

The Yellow Boats

Responding to strong customer feedback, seven-year-old Yellow Boats will run a week of brand new Night Tours in October. The Yellow Boats Night Tours will run from Monday, October 24 to Monday, October 31 across both cities, embarking from dedicated departure points at Marina Walk in Dubai and Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The Dubai Night Tour will depart daily at 6 pm, heading out from the glittering Dubai Marina as the sun goes down. The 90-minute trip then cruises around Palm Jumeirah, offering a glimpse of its luxurious villas and world-famous five-star hotels, including a unique front-row, fairytale view of Atlantis The Palm. Then, it’s on to the Dubai’s iconic seven-star Burj Al Arab, beautifully illuminated at dusk, with plenty of time for photo stops and interactive commentary from The Yellow Boats passionate skipper team. The Abu Dhabi Night Tour will depart daily at 5.45pm. The 60-minute trip offers its crew a journey through the ever-changing city skyline and the many contrasting, must-see attractions the UAE capital has to offer – which are of course all the more magical by moonlight. This exciting and informative tour travels around Heritage Village and along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, stopping at the timeless Fisherman’s Village and man-made Lulu Island, before cruisng back to the beautiful Emirates Palace Marina. The Yellow Boats Dubai Night Tours and The Yellow Boats Abu Dhabi Night Tours replicate the ticket structure of the multi award-winning company’s much-loved daytime tours, with no price increase. With limited dates available in the approach to Halloween, it is advised to book early to avoid disappointment. The Yellow Boats Dubai Night Tours run from Monday October 24 to Monday October 31, departing …

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Traverger – new digital agency for travel trade

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Insignia Worldwide Group has introduced Traverger – the region’s first digital brand engagement agency dedicated to the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Traverger launches to propel travel and destination brands to the forefront of online conversations in the age of hyper-competition and fragmented attention. Traverger equips clients to engage with increasingly elusive guests and time-poor travellers with powerful solutions born at the convergence of technology, public relations, social media and online advertising. “Travel and hospitality brands have complex and unique marketing needs that are different from traditional FMCG products. Online visibility and engagement is at the heart of driving innovation in brand communication and marketing. Our expertise in strategic planning and understanding of key feeder market dynamics is complimented by our insights on how potential guests or customers interact with online brand messages,” said Gaurav Sinha, Founder & CEO, Insignia Worldwide Group, the parent company that owns and operates Traverger.

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Travelport workshop for UAE travel agents in Lebanon

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Leading travel commerce platform, Travelport recently hosted a congregation of Abu Dhabi’s leading travel agencies at a series of innovation workshops at the Travelport office in Beirut, Lebanon. Among the attendees were representatives from well-known travel agencies such as Asian Gulf Travel, Shams Abu Dhabi Travel, Al Badie Travel Agency, Al Dana Travel, Liberty Travel, Smart Travel and Latakia Travel. The workshop provided the platform for the agents to learn about leveraging the most innovative technology that is redefining travel commerce around the globe and how this technology can utilised to meet traveller demands and grow the UAE’s travel industry. Travelport is a key technology partner for the Abu Dhabi agents who were in attendance, all of whom have recently signed long term agreements with Travelport. The three-day workshop was an interactive gathering where Travelport’s product experts showcased technologies such as Travelport Smartpoint, the industry leading desktop solution, which can truly transform the way agents work; maximizing revenues, increasing productivity and improving the customer experience. They allow travel agencies to sell more airline content more often, allowing agents to keep up-to-date with the widest range of real-time content from over 400 of the world’s leading network airlines and low cost carriers, all from within their workflow. They can also upsell more hotel rooms and car rentals. There are more than 650,000 unique hotel properties and 36,000 car rental locations available from within Travelport Smartpoint, which essentially means that travel agents can be confident and efficient in offering the right choices for their customers’ unique needs. Matthew Powell, Regional Director, Middle East and South Asia, commented that in order for traditional travel agents to remain competitive they need to be ‘consultants’ …

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