Smart Travel strengthens digital platform

This year Smart Travel will be attending ATM so that would be able to explore new partnerships and strengthen the ones they enjoy at present in the biggest travel trade show of the year. With cutting edge technology emerging into the travel platforms, it has become easier and efficient in terms of backoffice processes. Afia Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Smart Travel shares with TRAVTALK.

TT Bureau

We are attending ATM this year as buyers. The objective is to identify suitable suppliers to partner and collaborate our expansion plans. The leading travel and tourism exhibition is an ideal platform to look for quality suppliers with ethical and proven track record.

Could you share the general trends in the travel sector post COVID and this year in particular?

Post COVID unleashed travel and in many cases, the demand was higher than the supply. There was a huge demand for short getaways and staycations. Our Musandam getaway and Haffa overnight camps has seen huge demand, especially the weekends. In fact, they were fully sold out for the Eid holidays. Travellers from the UAE are now looking for offbeat destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Eastern Europe to explore.

Will you be able to share the significant areas you will work on for this year?

We recently launched our portal Within weeks of its launch, the portal got registered with 600 travel agents in the UAE. We will continue to add user friendly features in the portal.  Soon we will launch our B2C portal followed by B2E version for bookings tool. Being on the digital platform, we plan to expand in India with hospitality and aviation academy and to mark our presence in Saudi, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.

How are the hotels and airlines incentivizing you? Have there been any changes?

Smart Travel LLC is an IATA-accredited agency. Most of the airlines have offered IT fares and corporate deals to Smart Travel LLC. With increasing capacities post pandemic, we expect most of the airline will keep incentivising TMCs. NDC and modern retailing are two important fields in the minds of the agents or travel curators.

How do you define or see this in the industry?

NDC is the future of the air ticketing. Technical ability to adapt and distribute NDC will be the key. is proud to be one of them with the technical capability to integrate and distribute NDC-based ticketing to its users.

As all the borders have opened, how do you view summer this year? Any new destinations have come up?

Travellers are looking for offbeat destinations, as I have mentioned above. Because there is a generation of travellers who have matured going to regular destinations such as Georgia, Armenia, and Paris among other places. So, we see destinations in East such as Montenegro, Vienna in Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia being explored by travellers this summer.

In your opinion, which would be the most popular destinations this year for summer?

Apart from Europe, Japan, Far East-SIN, and Malaysia, China will also attract travellers this year as it has withdrawn all restrictions recently.

Do you see a difference in spending from guests in Middle East, GCC region?

Post pandemic, the economies of the Middle East and GCC countries have reported a steep rise recently. This has given a clear indication that the guests from Middle East and GCC countries would have more
purchasing power.


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