The passion for travel and adventure transformed into a career for Samir Hamadeh, General Manager, Alpha Destination Management. Having joined as Regional Head of Sales in the MENA region in 2000, Hamadeh heads a team of committed, well-trained and creative individuals
Currently heading the position of General Manager of Alpha Destination Management Hamadeh joined in 2000 as Regional Head—Sales for the MENA region and soon moved on to international sales where he successfully positioned Alpha as a market leader from Europe and developed new source markets into the destination. In addition to the daily micro-management of the company, Hamadeh is entrusted to oversee the business on a macro level, where the long-term strategy and the future of the business is being set. This includes the development of strategic global partnerships and identifying new opportunities as well as integrating advanced technologies and innovative service-delivery methods into their operations.
Success in a dynamic industry
Hamadeh shares tourism is challenging, dynamic, fun, exciting and continues to be a diverse industry where one continues to learn and discover various new cultures, places, people, languages on a regular basis. Success in the travel industry drives on having excellent people skills, communication, teamwork, dedication, flexibility and commercial awareness.
He explains that among notable accomplishments in his career is mentoring putting together a team of committed, well-trained, creative, and highly motivated team members. He explains, “In this industry, you can’t stop running. You are up against global business trends and changing customer behaviour. You have to be ahead of the game and run with a clear vision on what is coming up in the world of travel technology. This is another achievement of connecting the dots and being able to surf against the tsunami of the digital world by adapting to innovations to ensure the company is ahead of its competitors.”
Transformation of travel & tourism
The industry has witnessed a paradigm shift in trends and practices. Hamadeh mentions, “Travel has been reshaped by the latest innovations and technological advancements as well as massive development of facilities and attractions. Digitalisation has revolutionised the entire value chain of the industry. Prioritisation of tourism on national agendas by governments in the GCC has given it a major impetus. Accelerating growth of tourism is a massive investment in the sector along with relaxation of travel policies and strategic regional collaborations. Dubai has emerged as the largest tourism city by market size within the region. Today we have the most iconic buildings and the best hotels, fabulous airports, superb global connectivity, expanding low-cost carriers, outstanding leisure attractions, year-long calendar of regional and international events and excellent quality of life.”
OTAs vs traditional agents
Although technology plays a pivotal role in the trade, it is clear that traditional agents will never cease to exist. Hamadeh reiterates, “International tourism is expected to grow to 1.8 billion people by 2030. Technological connectivity and price comparison engines have, no doubt, shifted purchasing power to consumers. However, the web is a complex world that can be overwhelming with too much information and choices. That is when one needs to be guided by travel advisers who offer special experiences that consumers can’t easily get on their own. Therefore, it is important to start viewing customers not as mere units, but as guests seeking experiences. Travel specialists, particularly luxury travel agencies, are still in demand because only humans are capable of making some experiences happen.”