It was a refreshing change as the rules and regulations eased out for the travel and tourism sector in Dubai to host events under strict compliance, hence the Marhaba Europe brought together four of the tourism boards with 60+ partners and 80+ travel professionals from the region for two days of learning, networking and talking about new business opportunities.
Yamina Sofo, Director of Sales and Marketing, German National Tourism Office in Dubai for GCC countries
Marhaba Europe is a joint venture of the national tourism offices of Switzerland, France, Germany and Austria. We are very proud that in the present circumstances we were able to put this workshop together, where we bring together the trade from the GCC countries and our partners from four countries.
Matthias Albrecht, Director, GCC Countries, Switzerland Tourism
The purpose was to meet each other again and to restart business. We feel it when we talk to the people here and we really feel that people want to travel again, people want to sell trips again to Europe and that’s why we partnered up with our colleagues from France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland together to build up this event.
Karim Mekachera, Director, Middle East and Turkey Region, Atout France
In 2019, we merged with our colleagues from Switzerland, Germany and Austria at the event but business meetings were separate for each destination but now this year we merged altogether to one day as we wanted the travel operators to reach all four European countries in one platform. We have 64 exhibitors with 22 from different regions in France.
Rashida Harianawala, Assistant Manager, Safar Travel Abu Dhabi
This event brought in such an optimistic vibe because we are seeing people after so long in person and it gives us hope that travel is going to bounce back. As of now our clients are looking for more spaced out areas to relax, although they miss the hustle and bustle they want to be safe.
Mohammad Awadh, General Manager, Golden Seashell Travel & Tourism Kuwait
Kuwait market is waiting to travel, they keep asking Atout France when they will open for them to travel to France; for example Paris, Kuchavel, Germany they ask about all these destinations. This event provided us an opportunity to learn about the new policies and regulations in Europe when it does open to travel.
Thomas Wardeh, Marketing Manager Maison Tournier
Travellers from GCC countries have been one of our key source markets as we have some of the most exclusive facilities with our five-star hotel range in Courchevel. It was a great opportunity to meet with some of the partners we have been working with from 2010, and also to make new connections and meet new partners from GCC countries.
Sophie Vaissellet, Tourism Manager, The Village
We are really happy to be here at Marhaba Europe, we are presenting our shopping destination which is a very good experience for the discerning clientele from the GCC as we provide one of the most unique experiences with VIP facilities and areas dedicated which house over 150 brands.
Frederic Gouguides, International Sales Director, Park AsterixThe GCC market is one of the most important markets for us over the past many years. We are here at Marhaba Europe to present our 47 attractions with three hotels; two three stars and one four-star hotel with a total of 450 rooms. We are provided the opportunity to meet with our partners from the GCC and also meet some new agents.
Nati Madi, Travel Agent and Tour Manager, Neto Travel and Vacation Israel
I am very happy to introduce my company; in Israel it is called Neto Tours. I have five branches across Israel and I also represent Switzerland Tourism in the Arab sector in Israel. My clients are really interested in new destinations especially after the peace in October last year and we had almost four flights daily.
Angela Rieger, Sales and Tourism Manager, Outlet City Metzingen
We are very happy to be here after such a long time and cannot wait to welcome our visitors from the GCC again. The Outlet City Metzingen is not only the largest outlet in Europe but also it is the hometown of Hugo Boss with over 130 premium and luxury brands, so it’s a unique shopping destination for everybody. The main interest by the buyers over the past two days at Marhaba Europe is when they can travel, so everything is now in place and even we can’t wait until the borders open, I think that it will happen very soon.
Khaled Farhan, CEO, KMF Group Dubai
Marhaba Europe over the past two days has helped us a lot as they provided us an update about the new rules and regulations so that we can impart that knowledge to our customers. It was good to meet people and we had fruitful meetings and reconnected again with some partners. Everyone wants to travel now after been at home for so long. Safety has now become a mandatory requirement for every individual as they have become more responsible.
Inputs by Shehara Rizly