Kanoo reveals expansion strategy

Kanoo Travel has embarked on aggressive expansion plans within the Middle East and, for the first time, in Europe.

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By  Gemma Hornett Published  May 1, 2006

Kanoo Travel has embarked on aggressive expansion plans within the Middle East and, for the first time, in Europe. The Dubai-headquartered travel company is opening new stores, rolling out a new leisure retail concept, and improving facilities for its corporate clients, revealed Mishal Kanoo, deputy chairman, The Kanoo Group, in an exclusive interview with Arabian Travel News. “We have 172 offices in terms of distribution, and by the end of the year, we expect this to be 185. Retail growth will come mainly from Saudi Arabia the UAE and Bahrain,” he said. “We also have a project planned for Europe and will invest in our [American Express] franchisees in 19 countries.” Kanoo Travel is currently developing a new holiday shop concept, to be named either Kanoo Holiday Centre or Kanoo Leisure Centre, which will be rolled out in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh and Jeddah initially. Each shop will feature computers for holiday research, a kids play area and a café. Kanoo Travel outlets will also open in Kuwait for the first time, in the third quarter of this year. Kanoo Travel’s core businesses are corporate and leisure travel, retail and airline representation, accounting for one-third of total business for owner, The Kanoo Group. “We are the master franchiser for Amex in 19 countries, including North Africa and Iran and Iraq,” explained Tim Casey, deputy executive general manager, Kanoo Travel. “We plan to invest in their technology so they have access to Kanoo’s IT, enabling them so sell leisure products as well as corporate.” Kanoo’s Bahrain-based call centre is also being expanded to cater to a increase in corporate travel enquiries. The company is also eyeing inbound tourism opportunities, “particularly in the lower Gulf”. “We will be working on several joint ventures and acquisitions. We won’t rush into it because we want to make sure we have the right offering,” said Casey.

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