Lufthansa joins forces with agents
Lufthansa is forging partnerships with key UAE-based travel agents in a bid to help them develop tour operations.
The German carrier has already joined forces with Dubai-based agency chain Kanoo Travel, which is growing its outbound tour operator division (ATN May 1), as well as Sharjah-headquartered Orient Tours, and a deal with Dnata is in the pipeline.
“There are very few tour operators here (in the UAE) with the exception of Emirates Holidays, but there is demand for more tour operators that is not being met. Lufthansa is trying to cooperate with travel agents and trying to persuade them to set up operations,” explained Uwe Wriedt, general manager passenger sales UAE & director Gulf and Pakistan.
“We have so many ex-pats here and I believe that when it comes to holidays, not everyone is going to back to their home country. People living here want to see something different and so there is a big market for professional tour operators?
Wriedt said Kanoo Travel, which recently launched its first leisure brochures for 2006, had created some “intelligent ideas” and that Lufthansa was keen to work with other top agents/operators that were willing promote the airline as a “preferred carrier” in their brochures.
“We will give them good prices and ask them in return to put together good packages,” he said. “We can provide air transport and ground handling and so we can develop the tour operator market together.”
Lufthansa currently operates daily services on the Dubai-Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi-Frankfurt routes and in the winter operates a Dubai-Munich service. There are plans to up capacity on the latter as soon as new 747-400 aircraft are delivered.
The carrier is focusing on developing the inbound and outbound leisure market on the Dubai services, lending more opportunities for savvy agents-cum-operators.
“Our strategy is to work with a few key partners,” said Wriedt. “We are looking forward to having a partnership with Dnata. They haven’t been very active as an operator to date, but they are a sleeping beauty.”