New vision for new year

Setting new goals and aspirations every year, the Middle East has become one of the most rapidly growing destinations in the world. Of late, the UAE has forged ahead as a much sought-after country due to the collaboration with public and private sectors. Key strategists share their outlook for 2019.

Shehara Rizly

HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority
“Global destination for family holidaymakers and a global cultural hub for historical and natural heritage remains our priority. The development of unique ecotourism products, outdoor activities and more branded hotels in Sharjah, in collaboration with our partners and with the integration of innovative solutions, is set to further raise the standards of the emirate’s hospitality and tourism products in 2019. The strategy complements the achievement of the goals set by Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 that aims to attract at least 10 million tourists to the emirate by 2021.”

Freddy Farid, Managing Director, Two Seasons Hotel & Apartment
“All our efforts this year are directed to our new brand as Al Ghaith Holdings, owner of Gloria Hotel & Hotel Apartments has decided to change the hotel name to Two Seasons Hotel & Hotel Apartments. The rebranding will come to effect from January 2019 when the hotel will start off a new era with the completion of the room renovation programme, new marketing initiatives and our own rewards programme. We are primarily eyeing the India, China markets whilst achieving a good result from the emerging markets like Belgium and Scandinavian countries. We are also targeting the stop-over programmes and the transit business in addition to new projects in the surrounding area.”

Nasir Jamal Khan, CEO, Al Naboodah Travel
“We are very optimistic about our growth this year as we will be opening a new branch in Sharjah very soon, whilst the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia operation is already successfully underway, yet we are looking for further expansion. In addition, our newly-implemented travel management system (VIATI) is now fully operational, and is currently being used by our corporate and trade partners for online bookings. We have plans to bring more airlines on board and represent them as their official GSA. We will be sharing more details on this soon once everything is finalised. In terms of GSA business expansion, we would like to congratulate Turkish Airlines for adding seven weekly flights from Sharjah to Istanbul (Sabiha Airport). We are also focusing on facilitating the further growth of our existing GSA airlines.”

Arijit Munshi, General Manager, Tune Protect
“Today, we have more than 10 different travel protection products right from Schengen/EU compliant to adventure travel, catering to different lifestyles. Our objective is to better understand the evolving needs of travellers with the help of the travel industry. We are also looking at venturing into new countries as well as introducing new travel products that correspond to the changing requirements of travellers and 2019 will be no exception. It is important for us to keep up with our discerning clientele, establish new partnerships with the insurance community and travel providers in the region as they help support our vision.”

Rafeeq Mohammed, CEO, ITL World
“We’ve helped our clients travel smart and achieve more with our experienced team. A testament to this is the fact that we have maintained the regional industry’s most consistent client retention rate (95 per cent over the past 10 years being in operation in the GCC). Whilst 2018 revenues are modest compared to last year, our strong partnerships are indicative of an exciting 2019 and beyond. We have had another great year and are hopeful about the future as we build our global network with a consistent value proposition that includes continued focus on innovation, collaboration and unrivalled customer satisfaction.”

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