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Etihad Airways has relaunched its tour operation Etihad Holidays with a ‘sunshine guarantee’ and 12% commission for agents.
The carrier will offer more than 300 package itineraries, primarily to Abu Dhabi, but also to other destinations including the Seychelles, Maldives and Kenya.
The plans were unveiled at an event in London last night attended by head of Etihad Holidays Chris Hunter, who said the operator was hoping to become the second preferred choice to large agency chains’ own in-house tour operations.
He said it would also be targeting independents with their “very competitive options” for the honeymoon and diving markets.
The carrier’s operator business had previously been run through Funway Holidays but has now secured its own Atol licence.
Speaking to Travel Weekly at the launch, Hunter said: “Our relationship (with Funway) fitted a purpose and it was very good for us to learn and understand the operator market in the UK. However, we have operated here for 10 years and we wanted more choice and customers wanted to experience the Etihad service, not just on their flight but for their whole holiday.”
He said the move would support a general tourism drive to Abu Dhabi, where the operator is also offering free stop overs in the city on certain packages.
Etihad is also the host partner for the Abta conference which is being held in the capital of the capital of the United Arab Emirates in October.
Hunter said: “We’re helping host the conference which shows a commitment to the trade at a business leaders level which we will cascade down to support frontline agents.”
He said Etihad Holidays would operate price parity across its selling platforms with agents being able to earn 12% commission through bookings made on their trade booking system or holiday contact centre. Fam trips are also being planned.
Hunter said there was a little bit of the unknown about Abu Dhabi and UK customers tended to go to other markets.
“Part of our job is to provide more awareness of the destination,” he said.
“It’s actually very good value for money. We offer three-star which is very good quality three-star, as well as very high-end.”
Customers who experience rain on their holiday will be offered a free holiday through a ‘sunshine guarantee’.
Packages to Abu Dhabi start from £455.
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