x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 16 December 2017

Emirates Airline tour operator sets sights on 25% boost in business

Emirates Holidays expects to expand its business by up to 25 per cent this year as Emirates Airline launches new routes.

Emirates Holidays expects to expand its business by up to 25 per cent this year as Emirates Airline launches new routes.

Emirates Holidays is the tour arm of the airline group and specialises in luxury and customised getaways.

"Overall this year we're looking a 20 to 25 per cent growth in revenues and passenger numbers," said Frederic Bardin, the senior vice president at Emirates Holidays, the largest airline tour operator in the Middle East.

This is linked to Emirates Airline's growth, with the carrier launching service including to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam next month and between Dubai and Dulles International Airport near Washington in September.

"The capacity [increase] of Emirates this year in terms of seat kilometres available, which is how you measure an airline, is 20 per cent, with all the new aircraft coming," said Mr Bardin. "We hook on to the routes that Emirates opens, if it's a suitable holiday destination.

"We're putting a lot of emphasis this year on our traditional best-sellers. You're talking Europe - London, Paris, Munich, Italy. Malaysia and Thailand in Asia. But, also taking advantage of all the new destinations that Emirates has opened during the winter, which are most exciting holiday destinations. You're talking about Argentina, Denmark, Ireland - we've started flying to Dublin, which is a very good summer destination."

Emirates Holidays is also increasing the range of cheaper accommodation it has to offer.

"We are expanding our three- and four-star product range in terms of hotels," said Mr Bardin. "We've added a lot in this more budget range, without going mass market or anything. We want to generate more volume and we want to be able to satisfy the demand of travellers."

Data shows positive signs for global tourism after it was hit hard by the global economic crisis.

Last year, international tourism receipts exceeded US$1 trillion (Dh3.67tn) for the first time, up from $928 billion the previous year, data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization shows.

The Americas posted the largest increase in tourism receipts last year, up 5.7 per cent, followed by Europe, up 5.2 per cent.

Asia and the Pacific grew 4.3 per cent and Africa also rose 2.2 per cent. The Middle East was the only region to post a decline, with tourism receipts down 14 per cent.

A study on the travel habits of GCC nationals by Sunil Malhotra, a senior lecturer at the Emirates Aviation College, reveals that Qataris spend the most on travel with an average expenditure of US$4,100 (Dh15,060) per day, followed by travellers from Saudi Arabia, who spend an average of US$3,360, and the UAE, at US$3,280. GCC nationals spend 260 per cent more on airfares and 430 per cent more on accommodation than the world average, the study showed.

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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