dnata Travel Group, a leading UK-based travel services provider, has signed a partnership agreement with Etihad Airways to provide sales and service, ground product and brand marketing functions for Etihad Holidays in the UK. The collaboration will significantly increase Etihad Holidays’ distribution power in this market providing opportunities for greater engagement with UK travellers. The partnership formally commences in May 2020, with holidays for later in 2020 available, and 2021 already on sale.
The initial priority of the partnership will be to promote Abu Dhabi, showcasing its wide variety of cultural, historic, sport and leisure and entertainment attractions to a wide range of age groups and traveller types. Etihad Holidays will be sold primarily via an enhanced website and UK-based contact centre.
Hareb Al Muhairy, Senior Vice President Destination and Leisure Management, Etihad Airways, commented: “We look forward to welcoming travellers to our home, Abu Dhabi, when the world is ready to travel again. Our new partner dnata Travel Group will act as the essential link between Etihad Holidays and the consumer, while providing full support of our marketing and distribution activities in the UK.
“Abu Dhabi is just around seven hours of flight time from London Heathrow and Manchester airports and we look forward to working together to showcase the world-class cultural highlights and incredible leisure and entertainment facilities that the city has to offer.”
Commenting on behalf of dnata Travel Group, CEO John Bevan said: “For a number of years, Etihad Holidays has offered a comprehensive range of packages to Abu Dhabi and beyond, including the Middle and Far East, Indian Ocean and Australia. Our focus is to grow from that strong foundation and use our tour operating and brand-building expertise, to further increase arrival numbers into the UAE capital and broaden the range and choice of destinations and products available.
“Initially, we will position Abu Dhabi as a fantastic holiday destination for UK travellers. There is a huge amount to offer – we know British holidaymakers love the beaches, high quality hotels and excellent weather, and there is plenty of investment on the horizon for new and expanded attractions, parks, and entertainment and cultural venues.
“This has been an unprecedented period for all of our UK operations, so we’re very pleased to have reached agreement on this partnership against such a challenging backdrop. In doing so, we add to dnata Travel Group’s already extensive portfolio of brands in this market, and our overall potential for growth.”
The division will be led by Lisa Balsom, the new Head of Etihad Holidays UK at dnata Travel Group. Lisa joins from The Residence by Cenizaro where she was Director of Marketing UK, Europe, Russia and the Middle East, having also held senior roles with LUX* Resorts, dnata, Jumeirah and British Airways. She will report to Netflights MD, Andrew Shelton, and split her time between dnata Travel Group’s Leyland and London offices – where the team will be based.