A TTG exclusive: seasoned thoughts from ATM veteran, senior vice president, Arabian Adventures, Peter Payet, on the opportunities that lie ahead, and the distinguished growth that Dubai has been enjoying.
TTG: ATM is already buzzing. How are you finding the show so far, and how do you compare it to your past experiences?
I’ve been coming to ATM since its inception, always supporting Arabian Adventures.
I can very positively report that people are actually coming to see us, in particular, here. People we met at WTM, for example, are now joining us at ATM; we’ve had such a turn out already.
It’s interesting, ATM was supposed to be shared between Bahrain and Dubai, but following a trial period it was decided to keep it grounded here in the emirate.
ATM has its market share, and Dubai has certainly developed to accommodate, as has Arabian Adventures.
TTG: What can you share regarding the difficulties that the industry has had to face of late?
With all this talk of turmoil, it’s very easy for people to think of the Middle East, ‘well, what’s left?’
But for Dubai, it has actually been a very positive period. This past year has presented our customers with an opportunity. And numbers are very much up. Last year, nine million visitors were welcomed to Dubai, meaning that passenger numbers were up by 10 per cent.
TTG: And what role has Arabian Adventures been playing?
We are one of the main DMCs in Dubai. Our aim is to attract people and provide a seamless service. If you’re looking for someone to take care of your customers, we are the point of contact to do so. We have over 400 staff, and we split our business so that each sector is taken care of. It’s obviously working; MICE travel alone through Arabian Adventures was up by 48 per cent.
Our business development personnel try to capture audiences, and I’m happy to say we’re working very well as a team.
TTG: Would you say that your product is Dubai, or your staff members and the experience that they facilitate?
Dubai has always been the biggest and the best when it comes to leisure. But, there was actually a dip at one point when, due to nothing new coming up, the emirate’s charm was feared to be fading. So, we had to come up with something new. We’ve invested more time in incentives: people want value for money, unique venues and desert experiences. For discerning clients looking for bespoke experiences, who will spend more for that something different, we can completely provide, with a very exclusive collection that we’ve sourced over the years.
And, in keeping with rising technological trends, we’ve developed our e-commerce, ensuring that a seamless experience is providing with staff literally intervening. Over the last four years, bookings online have increased, and we’ve really invested a lot in our systems to reflect this. We can track passengers past preferences and experiences, making, therefore, the best possible business decisions for them.
TTG: How do you reconcile being under the mother-brand that is Emirates Airline with asserting your identity and doing what’s best for your clients?
It really is a positive overall; we’ve developed a very strong understanding.
They drive us to keep the brand standards, and to retain the image. It comes at a price, but ultimately they bring us business.
We’ve had to look at diversifying lately, providing multiple services without compromising on quality.
Our philosophy is clear: Emirates Airline doesn’t interfere with our decisions. Our goal remains clear as well: to drive business into the region.
Interestingly, there is great opportunity for this lately, providing for group tours that circle all the emirates. We’ve been pioneers for the booking of round trips, and I feel it’s very timely: we’re entering a new era of travel.