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Thu 7 Sep 2006 04:00 AM

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Emirates Holidays re-jigs ski

Emirates Holidays will add capacity in Italy, but remove Lebanon from its winter 2006/2007 ski brochure.

Emirates Holidays will add capacity in Italy, but remove Lebanon from its winter 2006/2007 ski brochure.

The famous Italian ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, home to the first ever Winter Olympics, will make a debut in the brochure, which is due to hit the stands at the beginning of November.

In the wake of the Middle East conflict, Emirates Holidays’ third best-selling ski resort, Lebanon, has been dropped, but promises to make a comeback next year once hostilities are settled, according to Marco Heinrich, the company’s destination development manager, Europe & North America.

“For now, people will go to Europe instead, particularly Austria and Switzerland,” he told ATN. “There won’t be any capacity problems [as a result of dropping Lebanon]. Skiing is new to this market and the key thing is to create the awareness that we have ski holidays to cater to everyone.”

Italy, he said, was becoming increasingly popular because it was “price-driven” and Arab nationals would be attracted to a resort such as Cortina d’Ampezzo because it is world-renowned.

Emirates’ choice of ski destinations were very determined by the airline’s route map, but in the future, he said the US and Canada could be introduced, as well as more European locations.

“It has taken us three years to upgrade the brochure step-by-step. Now we need to focus on selling the product,” said Heinrich.

“We need to give the information that we have to the clients and the travel agents.”

Ski fam trips for key agents could be in the pipeline, he said: “Agents need the specialist knowledge because if a client comes in to book a ski holiday they will have many questions. That’s why our brochures try to provide as much technical information as possible to help agents answer those questions.”

Currently 90% of Emirates’ outbound ski business is with ex-pats and the remaining10%, with Arab nationals.

Heinrich believes that the popularity of new Ski Dubai centre with locals will eventually bump up the Arab national average as ski holidays become a must-book each winter.

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