The first-ever GCC roadshow conducted by Gulf Reps was held in Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi from February 11-13, 2020 with over 150 travel agents from the GCC. Each roadshow offered many opportunities for travel agents to directly speak with the partners from the shopping villages, tourism boards and hotels in the heart of Europe.
Nina Farrimond, Head of Market, GCC
This is the first time that we arranged this type of event for the Middle East region and it was very well received. Although in Kuwait there were other ongoing events, over 50 agents participated. We have been travelling around with about 20 partners. Tourism Ireland was very well received in Kuwait and they managed to seal some bookings at the event. We are also introducing new villages.
Michelle Bullens, Sales Manager, La butte aux bois
It is the first time we are representing La butte aux bois in Belgium here in the GCC. Personalisation is one of the key features in our five-star property. We want to give our guests ‘a home away from home’ experience and offer them relaxation amidst natural environs.
Jeroen Van Der Velde, Tourism Director, Maasmechelen Village, Brussels
It was very interesting for us, as we are one of the nine European villages and it was the first time that we participated in a sales mission in the GCC. My first perception is that people are very interested in the GCC. We are happy with the results that we managed to get and the contacts that we were able to make.
Patrick Allais, Business Development Manager – La Vallee Village
We had a great experience in Kuwait. People had many questions about the city and the shopping destinations. The peak season starts by end of May, so we are ready for the GCC clients. The clients want to be updated with the latest information and this is the platform that agents can learn about. We are in the process of opening a new restaurant and some agents even asked me when it will be open.
Julio Montes del Pino, Director of Sales – VP Plaza Espana Design Hotel
It was a very well organised event. We saw quality in terms of the agents that visited us. They were interested in knowing about the location of the property and availability of bigger/connecting rooms. For those in the GCC, the perfect time to travel is from spring to end of the summer.
Veerle Boonen, Sales Manager – La butte aux bois
It was a very interesting day in Kuwait, the people were very friendly. They were looking for a hotel with a spa and in a green environment. They know Brussels very well, so it was a pleasant surprise. Many activities to do in the area.
Andreas Laepple, Assistant Destination Marketing Manager – Wertheim Village and Ingolstadt
I am representing two German villages and it has been a wonderful experience in the GCC countries. In Kuwait they were interested to know more about what we could offer to their clients. Dubai and Abu Dhabi were more familiar with the village hubs like Munich and Frankfurt and wanted to know more about the other parts of Germany.
Stefano Rizza, Business Development Manager – Fidenza Village
We had a great time in Kuwait where we met over 50 travel agents. We had the opportunity to showcase how shopping tourist destinations are important. They are looking for dedicated and exclusive services and the good thing about our company is that we can offer the best in terms of hospitality services.
Daniel Rosado Bayon, Tourism Counsellor, Embassy of Spain, UAE
Whenever a travel agent came, he saw the full experience that he can share with his client which was the whole package with hotels and shopping as well. Kuwait had lots of questions about shopping in Spain, which offers much by way of high street brands, VAT exemptions, shopping nights and various other experiences.
David Escolar, International Market Director – Middle East and North Africa, NH Hotels Group
It went very well as you know people are very educated and well-travelled. They are very sensitive in terms of brands and fashion. UAE is a large market for us and we have many connections so this roadshow gave us an opportunity to further highlight the new products and services available and also to connect with new agents.
Clive Doble, Tourism Director, Bicester Village, UK
It was an amazing experience, we had over 50 agents in Kuwait. Some of them knew what the Bicester Village Shopping Collection was, but many of them didn’t, so it was a great opportunity to share some of the success stories we had while looking after the Middle East market and working and building relationships directly with those agents.
Jonathan McDonagh, Sales Manager – K Club – The Kildare Hotel, Spa and Country Club
K Club is a five-star luxury resort on the outskirts of Dublin. We have 134 guest rooms and also private residences in the property. We offer numerous activities ranging from kayaking, horse riding, falconry, equestrian and much more as we are in Kildare. We have been here for a few days and the sales calls we made were very engaging and clients were interested in the products that we presented.
Aga Pytlik, General Manager – Pan World Travel and Tourism
It was lovely to join this event and welcome different suppliers and partners from around the world. In the tourism industry we always look for trends, fashions and products that we can introduce in our portfolio. Such events allow customers to find new experiences which combine fashion, travelling and shopping. Also, we met a lot of new partners and can develop new products and itineraries for our clients in different destinations.
Varsha Pherwani , Travel Counsellor Associate – Travel Counsellors
We have lots of trade partners here promoting their properties and shopping villages in Europe on one platform. We learnt about what they offer to the premium clients and how we can put together new packages.
Namratha Rose, Holidays Manager, Nasser Travel
The Bicester Village Shopping Collection roadshow by Sammy and the team at Gulf Reps has been very well represented. Roadshows like this give us, as travel agents and as travel management companies a better opportunity to interact with partners directly to get some insights and updates about the offers, services and facilities. Shopping villages from this market are an integral part of tourism.
Sheran Peiris, Sales Executive, Dubai Leisure Holidays
As I promote destinations, this was really a great opportunity to meet so many suppliers in one area. This roadshow was well organised as each one of us had time to have a very good meeting with each of the suppliers; they were from destinations to hotels and the shopping villages. Our clients prefer destinations where they can engage themselves in shopping so in this market the Bicester Village Shopping Collection is already known. We managed to get more details on what they will introduce for this season and the new deals on offer.
Qais Jairaj, Assistant Manager Sales and Operations – M!CE – Akbar Holidays
The main reason which attracts the UAE travellers is that everyone in Dubai wants to shop so the discounts and special offers have been quite popular. I have been selling them not only for leisure but also for M!CE and incentive groups over the years. There are many things that they provide, catering to different kinds of travellers – Arabs, Indians, Asians, all prefer the experience.
Bharat Batra, Travel Account Manager – AMEX Middle East
I work for American Express Dubai in the travel part, handling the platinum card members. It has been an amazing event and it should happen regularly so that we can provide our card members with more deals. The fact that we could connect with them directly under one roof was very good.