Over 120 of Lebanon’s travel industry leaders gathered at an industry awards ceremony hosted by Travelport, a leading travel commerce platform, and Middle East Airlines, the national flag carrier of Lebanon.
The winners were announced at the Four Seasons hotel in Beirut where travel agents with additional ‘beyond air’ capabilities on top of traditional air bookings – beyond air includes agencies with capabilities to book hotels for travellers for example – emerged strongly as the event’s winners.
The Middle East’s travel market is worth around $72 billion and is poised for more growth. Online travel bookings, which represent 25 per cent of all bookings in the Middle East, are forecast to grow in 2015 and 2016 to reach 36 per cent by the end of 2017 when online revenue is expected to reach $35 billion. Offline sales are forecast to continue to grow from $54 billion in 2014 to $63 billion in 2017. The awards are the first of their kind in Lebanon, where a travel commerce platform and national airline carrier join forces to honour industry players who have delivered the best in travel throughout the year.
Chairman-director general, Middle East Airlines, Mohamad A. El-Hout stated: “MEA prides itself in offering the latest technology and solutions to its travel agents and passengers and through our partnership with Travelport, we can present our products to our customers more efficiently. A special acknowledgment goes to the travel agents for their contribution in boosting the tourism sector as well as the Lebanese economy.”
President and managing director of Africa, Middle East and Asia, Travelport, Rabih Saab commented: “We are very proud to host these awards in conjunction Middle East Airlines to honour our travel agency partners in Lebanon. Travelport is a company with innovation at its core and as such we are honoured to recognise our travel agency partners who are at the cutting edge of their industry, leveraging the most innovative products and solutions to meet the unmet needs of the travel industry.”