Axis takes over MyTravelChannel

TRAVEL website myTravelChannel.com has been taken over by Axis Holidays — the tourism division of the Emirates Group, Arabian Business can reveal.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  September 25, 2005

TRAVEL website myTravelChannel.com has been taken over by Axis Holidays — the tourism division of the Emirates Group, Arabian Business can reveal. Axis Holidays, which provides travel and tourism products throughout the GCC, already possessed an online business catering directly to the travel trade. However, the recent merger has led to the creation of a portal, which makes Axis’ holidays and packages available on the web for the first time. It also means that travel agents working with Axis will be provided with an online platform, through which to distribute services. As a result of the link-up, myTravelChannel.com, which claims to have around nine million users region-wide, expects to grow and expand its range of available packages. The portal currently offers hotels, airline bookings, car hire and travel insurance for business and leisure customers around the region. “This is an important step for online travel in the Middle East and will have a direct impact on the level of choice offered to consumers. With Axis having bought myTravelChannel.com, it is likely to make us a strong competitor against other major players in and around the region,” Leo Fewtrell, manager of Dnata Holidays and Events told Arabian Business. The myTravelChannel.com website, which was available in both English and Arabic, was developed by the Emirates e-Ventures Group to create a neutral website offering online travel services to consumers. It’s new incarnation, however, will allow them to make online bookings via the website or local travel agents. The deal comes on the back of rival lastminute.com’s recent announcement that it would set up a presence in the region in a bid to tap into the Middle East’s tourism boom. The travel and leisure retailer has already set up an office in Dubai for its car rental division, Holiday Autos. The late travel and leisure deal retailer has experienced growth in web bookings from the Arab world. The firm’s website has been increasingly used to book leisure services by regional consumers when travelling to Europe. The company’s partners are also using its portal to sell regional inventory — Hilton International, for example, says it has generated several thousand bookings in the Middle East after penning a deal with the group last year. This growth in online activity in the regional travel sector is not surprising, according to one leading tourism analyst. “With around eight million tourists a year visiting Dubai alone, it was only to be expected that the online segment of the market responded accordingly — as it has,” said Chris Dransfield, an international tourism analyst at the NDP Group. “I expect to see more and more activity in this area as more and more Western tourists use Middle Eastern destinations as more luxurious alternatives to Europe and Asia,” he added.

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