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Sun 1 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Kurian to extend the Octopus feelers in MENA

Online travel company OctopusTravel.com has set its sights on expanding its portfolio of affiliates in MENA after calling on the services of an experienced travel professional to take responsibility for this region.

Former Holiday Autos business development manager, Ben Kurian, has been appointed the company’s general manager, Middle East, North Africa & Turkey and told ATN his key role was to “expand possibilities with existing affiliates and to seek contracts with new ones”.

“My primary target is institutions with a large client base, such as banks, credit card companies, airlines and loyalty schemes,” he said.

OctopusTravel.com is the consumer-facing sister company to trade-focused Gullivers Travel Associates (GTA), both of which sell all components of travel, excluding flights.

In the Middle East, Octopus already works with companies such as Qatar Airways, powering their web sites in both English and Arabic.

“We are popular with airlines because we offer a good range of products and allow them to brand our site with their own colours and logos.

The client also has the opportunity of choosing the language, so we take a tailor made approach,” explained Kurian.

He insisted that rather than compete with the trade, Octopus “fills the gaps” in the market and emphasised that GTA would continue to offer agents “some of the best wholesale rates around”, particularly now the company had launched Galileo Leisure, in conjunction with Galileo Emirates, an online system which allows agents to access and sell GTA services through Galileo.

GTA also provides an XML interface allowing agents to access GTA services through their own web sites.

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