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BTN spotlight: Rehan Ali, CEO, Tawfeeq Travel Group

BTN spotlight: Rehan Ali, CEO, Tawfeeq Travel Group

Tawfeeq Travel Group has grown from humble beginnings into one of Qatar’s leading travel management companies. BTN speaks to CEO, Rehan Ali in the build up to Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022…

BTN: How did Tawfeeq Travel Group get started?
RA: Tawfeeq Travel group was formed in 2009 under the patronage of Abdullah Al Mustafawi Al Hashemi. Our group company AL Hashemi is a renowned organisation in Qatar, dating back more than 60 years. From humble beginnings with seven staff and a small office 10 years ago, Tawfeeq Travel Group has witnessed significant growth to emerge as a leading travel management company in Qatar with a focus on offering industry leading service to our customers.

BTN: How have your operations changed since you started out?
RA: Travel is getting increasingly complex with technology and innovations. When we started we were just a corporate travel agent but then our business has matured into several verticals related to travel. Today we represent American Express – GBT, NDC for Sabre in Qatar, 18 retail outlets spread all across Qatar, B2B – extending our reach for more than 75 agents and a fully fledged DMC aiding the vision of government to promote business into Qatar. We also are GSA for six leading airlines in Qatar.

BTN: What is the current status of inbound tourism to Qatar? And at what stage in the recovery from the pandemic are you?
RA: Inbound tourism has shown positive surge in the business, with FIFA round the corner there is a flow of visitors. Qatar Tourism Authority has been successfully hosting several events and festivals to lure more and more tourist into Qatar. The visa on arrival facility has been extended to more than 90 nationalities which in turn is adding more inbound business.

Tawfeeq Travel was quick to recover from pandemic, our numbers grew to pre-pandemic levels since Oct’21 and since then there is no looking back as we continue to surge and make the best of the opportunities available.

BTN: What trends in business travel do you see emerging as the world reopens to travel?
RA: It is glad to see the business recovering and happy to see Qatar taking the lead in the region. There is extensive business travel happening since the endemic as everyone wants to connect and catch up on the various business opportunities. One of the key trend is passengers preferring to travel more in premium and stay in premium hotels in order to be cautious of coming in close interaction with busy places. Since some countries have still not gone away with entire restrictions there is a it of hassle for business travellers as they need to ensure the different rules applied in each country as compared to pre-covid.

BTN: What role are you playing in Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup?
RA: We are a fully fledged DMC and we are working closely with Qatar tourism to facilitate accommodation and transportation for varied groups coming from different parts of the world.

BTN: In what ways do you see the FIFA World Cup helping Qatar’s travel and tourism sector?
RA: FIFA World Cup is the biggest event on earth and it has set the stage for Qatar to showcase as just not a country which is rich in oil and gas but also has lots to offer as a MICE destination as well as for tourist. More and more cruise ships want to add Qatar to their itineraries, which is excellent for tourism. Before pandemic Qatar had close to 300K visitors through different cruise ships.

BTN: Can you tell us about Tawfeeq Travel and the services you now offer?
RA: We offer bespoke services to our customer to make their travel experience memorable. Amongst the key services offered by TT in Qatar are as follows –
Account Management, On Site Travel Implant, Cruise Handling, DMC operations, Visa assistance, VAT Reclaim Services, Travel Insurance, E-Ticket Tracker, Air and Non-air GSA handling, Limousine & Air Charter
Security Travel advice, 24 Hour Contact Center, Hotel Booking

BTN: Which areas of travel excite you most, and why?
RA: Service!! I feel this is of utmost importance, you are selling an experience which will eventually become a memory and it all starts how you connect and extend your assistance to the travellers.