Travelport extends Middle Eastern reach

Travelport GDS has announced a multi-million dollar investment in the Middle East. Over the coming months the company will refine its distributor relationships in select markets and establish a new, highly-efficient direct support network for travel agents in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.Over the past 17 years, Galileo has established itself as the leading GDS provider in the Middle East and is currently distributed in the region by the national airlines of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE and Yemen (the ‘Arabi group’).  Galileo’s contract with the Arabi Group will expire at the end of 2008 and Travelport has taken the opportunity to review its existing distribution arrangements across the region. 

The GDS provider also plans to step up its activity and invest in greater direct distribution through the development of its own direct operations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and an expanded direct presence in Egypt.

“We feel the interests of the travel agents across the region will be better served by new distributor relationships in certain markets,” commented Rabih Saab, Vice President for Travelport GDS’ Middle East and Africa region. “In other markets, we intend to work with some of our current distributors as well as other new partners who bring with them a wealth of expertise and experience to help grow our overall presence in the region. We will also invest in new direct operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and expand our presence in Egypt”.

Over the past year, Travelport GDS has increased its presence in the Middle East with the acquisition of Worldspan, which has a well-established and successful business in several key markets and a wholly-owned operation in Egypt.  Travelport GDS has also opened a new, state-of-the-art office in Dubai and made several key management appointments across the region. 

“The Middle East is a dynamic region for travel and one which will continue to grow considerably over the coming years.  We firmly believe that by building more substantial, wholly-owned operations across the region, coupled with enhancing our relationships with effective distributors in some of our markets, we will be well positioned to serve our customers more effectively and to augment our business in this important region,” continued Saab.