Airline partnerships have resulted in a massive increase of Australians travelling to the UAE. Steven Green, owner of Olive Tree Travel in Melbourne, shares his thoughts on the appeal of Dubai as a destination and the key elements of selling the destination to Australian travellers.
What is the appeal of Dubai as a destination?
Its geographical centrality, its impressive infrastructure and the fact that there is something for everyone.
What were your own Dubai highlights?
Skiing in Dubai; my amazing hotel Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on the Palm; and water sliding at the Atlantis resort on the Palm.
How do you convince clients that it is worth more than a brief stopover en route to Europe?
Where else in the world could you be on the ski slopes in the morning and be 4WD-ing in the sand dunes of the desert in the afternoon? The main connecting EK flight from Dubai to Melbourne stops in Kuala Lumpur and gets back at a terrible time so you may as well break the journey, spend a few days and see what all the fuss about Dubai is about.
There is literally something for everyone, it’s totally safe, there’s a place to suit any budget, and there are very cool festivals and events to enhance the experience.
What are the biggest challenges in selling the destination?
The (incorrect) perception of being expensive, tacky and unsafe.
How can agents improve their Dubai product knowledge?
Attend seminars, do online training, but most importantly just get to Dubai!
What tips would you give to other travel agents who want to sell Dubai?
Package up a two- to three-night night hotel stay with transfers and one or two activities and make it easy for your clients.