, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone

Aya: expert on Middle Eastern destinations opens to the world to seduce groups

22 new destinations all over the world

Aya is expanding its production with new destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas devoted to a group clientele. But the tour-operator is not leaving behind it favorite destinations of the Middle-East that are resisting quite well to the disaffection of French tourists.

Rédigé par Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher le Vendredi 25 Septembre 2015

Aya is launching a new Aya Désirs du Monde brand with tours devoted to groups - DR
Aya is launching a new Aya Désirs du Monde brand with tours devoted to groups - DR
In our times, it is not easy to be a tour-operator specialized in the Middle-East.

But while Aya is doing quite well with its favorite destinations, it decided to diversify its production to find new sources of growth.

In this way, it launched a new Aya Désirs du Monde brand with tours devoted to groups.

Inside the brochure edited for the occasion, we’ll find 22 destinations in Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and of course, the Middle-East.

“We decided to open these new destinations on the group market because it is much easier than for individual travelers,” states Walid Ben Zaied, Development Manager.

Thanks to its wonderful arrangements with airline companies, the TO offers rather attractive rates for tours in full board, such as Thailand at 1,090 euros, the Baltic States at 1,196 euros, or the American West for 1,899 euros.

And the first feedbacks are already excellent, with close to 300 passengers already recorded in Thailand and 600 in only two months in the Baltic States. The TO that had committed to 700 seats will need to add availabilities.

In fact, the Group Department is expanding at Aya and should prevail over individual sales this year, and even exceed them in 2016.

“Thanks to our small size, we are responsive and flexible to our clients’ requests. Our air transport stocks also allow us to offer excellent rates,” explains Adeline Kurban Fiani, Executive Director.

In fact, Aya works often in the form of white-labeling with coach companies. It is referenced at Manor, sold at Thomas Cook, and at Selectour Afat with whom it is currently negotiating an alliance.

Comeback of Iran in the Désirs d’Orient brochure

Other than a diversification of its destination, Aya is not giving up its Désirs d’Orient and islands brochure.

Considering the current geopolitical context, its performances are quite impressive.

The Emirates were particularly successful, especially Dubai (4,500 clients) as well as Abu Dhabi (3,900 passengers.)

In fact, Aya committed to 700 seats for the opening of the Louvre Museum in the Emirate between now and the end of the year.

Combined trips between the Emirates and the islands of the Indian Ocean as well as the Maldives sold quite well, thanks to the Gulf companies’ attractive rates for flights with connections, that are sometimes cheaper than direct flights.

The TO also negotiated several free products with hotel chains in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Iran is making a major comeback in the brochure. “Travel agents were still calling us even when we had taken the country out of our program. We receive lots of requests and it isn’t always easy to find hotels,” specifies the Director.

Jordan still in high demand

And Jordan, that is going through a major crisis on the French market, is still seducing Aya’s clients: 2,600 passengers in 2014.

“There is still demand for the destination, but all of the TOs have withdrawn from it. We are almost the only ones to stay there,” laments Adeline Kurban Fiani.

Thanks to the support provided by the tourism office and airline companies, the group had launched a product that cost less than 1,000 euros that was very popular.

Oman is the only one in pretty bad shape, with only 1,450 clients.

Finally, the TO rejoices over the success of its DMC branch, with close to 15,000 clients and of which the average spending amount keeps on increasing.

Generally, the team is quite confident in the future. “We feel that the economic situation is much better. Sure, clients have smaller budgets but they want to travel,” states Walid Ben Zaied.

After ending the 2014 year with revenues of 23 million euros, the TO was already at a 5% growth by late July.

But the team is crossing its fingers until the end of the year, as it anxiously remembers how the publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ map had curtailed all the sales in the Middle East when released last year at the IFTM Top Resa.

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