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HomeNewsETAA successfully concludes its first International Convention in Dubai

ETAA successfully concludes its first International Convention in Dubai

The Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) recently held its first international convention in Dubai. Themed ‘Dubai in your Palm’, the Convention was designed to allow the attending members to explore Dubai as well as benefit from Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s (DTCM) first offline training programme. The Convention saw about 400 attendees and witnessed full house attendance for the opening and training sessions.

Addressing the attendees at the inauguration, Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director Overseas Promotions & Inward Missions, DTCM, lauded the interest the members had expressed in the destination. Speaking with T3 on the sidelines of the opening ceremony, he said, “The attendance has been higher than was initially projected, both in terms of number of attendees and the number of cities they hail from,” he said.

Commenting on the turnout, Karl Dantas, Chairman Emeritus, ETAA commended the attending members’ commitment to the association and the destination. “We had over 350 delegates, about 30 guests and media in attendance. What was astonishing was that even the guests attended the conference, not just the exploratory tours. It shows commitment,” he said.

The partners

The success of the ETAA Convention took the effort of the Committee as well as its partners: DTCM, DVPC, Lama Tours, Emirates and Jet Airways. When asked about the importance of conventions such as ETAA for Lama Tours, Kulwant Singh, MD, Lama Group stated that continuous marketing efforts are important to increase visibility in the Indian market, and events such as the ETAA Convention are a vital part of their strategy.

Highlighting the objective of hosting the ETAA Convention in Dubai, Carl Vaz, Director, DTCM India revealed that the destination wanted to train agents on Dubai both theoretically and by experience. “The main focus was to reach out to agents in tier I and II cities to educate them about Dubai, and we have achieved that through this convention. Product enhancement and intravenous sales are of prime importance for us and this was a great platform for it. We notched full attendance at the presentations and training. We give full credit to the Managing Committee and participants. Their enthusiasm and interest is very encouraging,” he added.

The Crowne Plaza Dubai and Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana extended their hospitality to the convention attendees.

The venue

Naveen Advani, President, ETAA stated that they have treated the convention in a unique way, by making it a discovery experience rather than a convention filled with panel discussions and business sessions. “We want members to experience Dubai,” he added.

Dubai received over 630,000 Indian visitors from January to September this year. Speaking about expectations from India, Al Geziry said, “Our target for 2020 is 20 million inbound visitors, and India will be a major feeder market for it.”

Adding a feather to its cap, Dubai also won the bid to host the Expo 2020, which has further strengthened the destination’s optimism about growing inbound numbers. Al Geziry called the bid a milestone for Dubai as it proves that the destination can cater to major international events. “It is great news for the tourism industry because it is beneficial for every facet right from airports to hotels and F&B outlets, transportation providers etc. It will greatly benefit FTAs and the economy,” opined Vaz.

Speaking about their target segments from India for 2014, Vaz stated that the destination has seen tremendous success from the market, and hopes to record 900,000 Indian visitors by the year end, with a double digit growth expected next year.

“We are in the process of signing partnership agreements with 20 top tour operators for Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2014 joint promotions. We will also push the Dubai Summer Surprises and the October-December period for Indian family travellers. Furthermore, we will tap the wedding segment, and plan to invite wedding organisers and planners to experience Dubai and network with suppliers,” Vaz said.

Exploring Dubai the Lama Group way

“This is the first convention where more than 70 per cent of the participating members were travelling to Dubai for the first time. They hence expected a power packed trip that they will be able to sell to their customers. Upon arrival we lined exclusive transfers for them to their respective hotels, where they had some time to go shopping and explore Dubai on their own and get ready for the evening gala dinner which was sponsored by DTCM.

Day two saw a professional team from the DTCM share with them various tips of how to sell Dubai and what Dubai has in store for any visitors. After lunch they were taken on a city tour of Dubai, followed by a cruise trip in the evening before they were finally taken to the golf course of Hyatt Regency for a gala evening.

Day three saw the agents on a shopping tour and lunch at one of the convention hotels before they moved to the most exciting part of the convention, the Desert Safari experience, where Lama Tours arranged an adventurous ride over the golden sand dunes of Arabia. The evening ended in the Lama Bedouin campsite.”

– Kulwant Singh, MD, Lama Group


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