While GTA has long served the needs of Iraqi travel agents – and by extension consumers – through its representatives in neighbouring countries, the PSA appointments recognise Iraq’s increasing tourism potential.
The news comes on the 20th anniversary of Arabian Travel Market – being held this week in Dubai – and as GTA celebrates the 15th birthday of its Dubai office. From humble beginnings with just three people in 1998, today the office is a hub for GTA’s operations throughout the Middle East and Africa, and is at the heart of a network of 120 people who help travel agents in the region sell holidays to destinations around the globe. At the start of the Millennium, most of GTA’s business helped Middle Eastern travellers experience destinations in Europe and the Far East. While this continues to enjoy year on year growth today, GTA’s extensive knowledge and strong reputation also makes it the first choice for intra-regional travel.
Rami Mashini, GTA’s Vice President for Sales, Middle East & Africa has spent his career in the region’s travel and hospitality industries and has cemented an unrivalled reputation for the company. “In at the outset of the Middle East’s growing influence on global tourism, our business has grown from strength to strength alongside rapid aviation expansion and increasing demand for international travel.
“Despite increasing competition, GTA remains true to its values as a strong, reliable partner acting with dignity and integrity in our relationships with agents and operators. Not prepared to forego our standards of quality, our code of conduct and ethics in our operations, we have taken our time in seeking entrepreneurial partnerships with our new PSAs for Iraq. With Travel Gate and Trip Gallery we are building relationships that are a win-win for us, our customers and the vital fully independent travel (FIT) industry.”
GTA’s ever-expanding sales agent network has contributed to its growth. In 2012, the Middle East enjoyed 15% growth in air passengers, three times that of the world average, and is expected to remain the strongest of the world’s regions until 2016.1 Hospitality businesses are enjoying success too: Marriott International, for example, saw revenues from properties in the Middle East and Africa rise 8% in 2012.2
Zahir Aljabri, Associate Partner at Trip Gallery, says: “Having previously represented GTA in Syria, it is a pleasure to develop our relationship further in Iraq. Their unwavering support during the past two years of the Syrian crisis gives us confidence in their ongoing loyalty to the Middle Eastern market. GTA’s commitment to providing the best value and service experience to our clients has made it the most reputable online booking system in our markets, with travel agents always expressing satisfaction of the practicality of the system and its superior content, as well as the excellent customer service given to them.”
Core to GTA’s success as the region’s brand for FIT is the security and stability of Kuoni and GTA: two global companies with more than a century of experience between them. GTA has long-connected travel sellers with unrivalled content at the best possible prices through its reliable technology. With one of the biggest networks on the planet and staff dedicated to providing excellence, the company’s global reach and influence, coupled with a thorough understanding of destinations and the insightful application of local expertise, secures year-round business for the tourism industry.
Lana Qassim, General Manager for Travel Gate, says: “We are so pleased to open our doors in Erbil and represent GTA throughout Kurdistan. Travel agents in the region have warmly welcomed the brand and trust in its reputation for impeccable service, 24/7 customer care and competitive rates. We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership.”
Adds Rami: “Even though we’ve been doing business in the region for 15 years, we’ve only scratched the surface its potential. GTA is enjoying extremely healthy growth and there’s no sign that it is slowing down. The Middle East’s doors are wide open for opportunity.”