SNTTA records 25pc growth in summer sales

DUBAI — Defying negative factors like high inflation, rising rents and fears that many expatriates may be heading home for good, the outbound travel sector witnessed robust growth this summer.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 8 Sep 2007, 9:14 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:34 PM

More UAE families travelled overseas this summer for holidays than ever before, and the overall growth in retails sales at travel agencies was higher than the corresponding period last year, according to figures released by a leading travel company in the UAE.

Sharjah National Travel & Tourist Agency (SNTTA), a major player in the UAE’s outbound travel business and member of the Dubai-based Liberty Investment Company, recorded an increase of 25 per cent in retail sales this summer, and there are indications that market would sustain this growth trend for the rest of the year, in view of Eid holidays, Christmas season and Dubai Shopping Festival.

The rising cost of living spurred people to seek out value for money destinations, with this summer’s most popular destinations being Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, according to sales data provided by SNTTA.

“The UAE, being the second largest outbound market in the Gulf, has always demonstrated strong growth year after year,” said Zafar Imam, General Manager, SNTTA, Sharjah. “All the talk about people cutting down on travel expenses has been negated by the growth we saw this summer. Both Emirati and expatriate families continued to maintain their lifestyle of annual vacations, some of them taking more than one vacation in a year.”

The growth figures excluded the amnesty travellers who book one-way tickets. According to Imam, the large majority of tickets booked at SNTTA outlets were return tickets.

SNTTA revealed the summer travel trends at the conclusion of its 90-day “Fly Free Anywhere” summer promotion that gave retail customers the opportunity to win back the entire ticket amount. A total of 90 tickets were given away, one for each day. A raffle draw entitled the winner to redeem the full price of the ticket, and also qualified him for a grand draw to win a 2007 Chevrolet Epica.

The grand draw was held at the SNTTA main office in Sharjah, supervised by Fathya Al Hammadi, from the Sharjah Economic Development Department. The Chevrolet Epica grand prize was won by Hamzar Uba. “The ‘Fly Free Anywhere’ promotion drew enthusiastic response, reflecting the strong customer loyalty we enjoy in the market,” added Imam.

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