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4 June 2011 12:23 pm

Tour operators brace up for summer rush

JoJo
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Tour operators from all over the world are making a beeline to Qatar in a bid to woo potential travellers to an array of destinations during the coming summer holidays. According to sources, as in earlier years residents, cutting across nationalities, are keen on travelling to a host of locations, spread all over the world. Most tour operators say that interest among potential travellers is on a new high as they anticipate summer holidays from July 15, when heat conditions across the region are unbearable. “Unlike in the previous years, potential travellers are not keen on tailor-made packages, which have been regularly experimented and explored over the years. Now, most travellers want to descend on those places that they have never travelled until now,” said executive director of Unique Choice, Walter Dias, a veteran of the industry,adding: “Contrary to our earlier expectations, the locals are showing more interest this year in travelling to those destinations that they have not tried so far.” According to the Unique Choice official, usually Arab travellers have a tendency to repeat travels to only those destinations that they are already familiar with. “However, this year, many locals, including young couples want to visit new destinations,” he said. A few days ago Unique Choice held a familiarisation meeting where tour professionals representing many sectors of the tourist, travel and hospitality industry participated. While it is clear from the response generated in the industry so far that several tourists have their holiday plans in the Asean circuit, especially in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, equally encouraging has been the fast growing response among the locals to European locales, in particular Turkey. “One of the main reasons should be the good connectivity being provided in that region by Turkey’s national airliner, Turkish Airlines. The response Malaysia is showing in attracting tourists from the region, especially from Qatar, was evident from the large participation of delegates from that country at the meeting, co-ordinated by Dias a few days ago. Increasing interest is being shown by the locals to spend their holidays in South American destinations such as Argentina and Brazil this year. Qatar Airways started operations to the two countries last year and these days more Arabs, especially the locals, have their holiday plans in either one or both the countries, sources said. “There are many destinations in the two places (Brazil and Argentina) which are cheaper compared to expensive European locations,” pointed out a tour operator. Kenya is another destination to which the country’s tourists are favourably disposed to. Within the GCC region, locations in Oman seem to be those in which the locals have the maximum interest. “As usual, Salala which experience less heat during the summer is certain to attract this year quite a good number of Qatar–based visitors,” said another tourist operator.