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Sun 1 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Greece is the word for Emirates

Emirates Holidays is preparing to grow emerging source markets and to open trade and consumer eyes to the wide range of destinations suitable for breaks over the forthcoming Eid and Christmas holiday periods.

Fresh from a successful summer season, which saw robust demand for Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany in particular, the tour operator is setting its sights on promoting the growing number of holiday options available in line with Emirates Airlines’ ongoing expansion.

For Eid, the company is pushing short breaks to destinations within six or seven hours’ flying time.

“Eid packages have traditionally been price-led, but what we are trying to do is to promote the benefits of Eid and encouraging people to take a few days off and travel a few days earlier,” explained John Felix, vice president, Emirates Holidays.

He said trips to Lebanon, one of the most popular Eid destinations, were “out of the equation” for now and so he expected demand for Egypt and Cyprus to soar instead.

Cyprus is not only a growing outbound destination, it is also one of the key emerging source markets for inbound business, along with Greece, Russia and Africa, Felix revealed.

The operator launched its first Russian-language brochure this year, offering holidays to Dubai and worldwide, demand for which was “too early” to unveil, he said.

Following the success of Emirates Holidays’ World Cup packages and an increase in the awareness of what Germany has to offer, the company is set to launch winter packages focusing on the Christmas markets.

And Felix said that although Lebanon had been omitted from Emirates’ soon-to-be launched Winter Ski brochure, he was confident it would return to the summer brochures in 2007.

“The conflict in Lebanon did impact our business because of the timing, but what we lost we made up in other areas; Egypt, Malaysia and even as far as Australia,” he said.

“The main driver for everyone was that during the summer they have to be on holiday. It’s a mindset.”

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