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Haensel calls for niche players

A senior Emirates Group official has emphasised the need for more niche tour operators to set-up-shop in the UAE.

A senior Emirates Group official has emphasised the need for more niche tour operators to set-up-shop in the UAE.

“I think there is a great opportunity for people to go into niches that are not covered by Emirates Holidays and Dnata Holidays,” said Hans Haensel, senior vice president, destination and leisure management division, Emirates.

“There is enough demand in the market and there are more people moving here that have a high disposable income. There is even room for operators to specialise in specific regions such as Asia and the Indian Ocean.”

He said Emirates Holidays had cornered some niche markets such as ski, but had no plans to introduce a niche operation of its own.

“We don’t want to be the master of all things. We have
a good mid- to upper-range of products and we tailor make as much as possible, but not everyone wants to fly Emirates and so independent players have a real chance to capture this market,” he added.

He said Dnata Holidays, which has undergone an overhaul and now specialises in 25 destinations only, had the chance to be more flexible with its products and pricing, but would still be pressured to drive volumes by the airlines it represented.

“At the end of the day, it’s a commercial operation and it has to make money,” Haensel explained.

“Dnata has missed opportunities in the past and was too focused on retail, but now they have an opportunity to become a good mainstream operator,” he added.

In other Emirates Holidays news, Haensel told ATN the company was “18-20% up on budget” for April 2006 to March 2007 compared to the same period the previous year. “We had a good summer and a great September and October, particularly when you consider it was Ramadan,” he added.

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