‘The e-learning program will enable trade partners to target the right customer base’

For more than a decade India has remained one of the top source markets for the UAE. Taking due cognisance, Expo 2020 Dubai launched an e-learning program to facilitate Indian travel trade to curate an attractive itinerary for their clients, says Sumathi Ramanathan, Vice President, Market Strategy & Sales, Expo 2020 Dubai, in an interaction with TravelBiz Monitor.

Q.1. The organisers of the Expo 2020 Dubai have launched an e-learning program for the travel trade partners in India. What is the objective of launching the e-learning program?

Expo 2020 has launched a dedicated e-learning programme in India in association with TravelBiz Monitor. Launched in October, to continue early into 15th January 2022, the platform enables our trade partners to attract more visitation from India.

For over a decade, India has been one of the top source markets for Dubai. Naturally, we wanted to pay special attention to this market.

Moreover, the India Pavilion has emerged as one of the most-visited pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai, with the number of visitors crossing 370,000 as of 22 November.

The India Pavilion represents its vision for the future under the theme ‘Future is in India’. Located in the Opportunity District, the pavilion reflects a ‘New India’, showcasing the strengths of its human resources and the aspirations of its youth. The pavilion showcases the country’s potential to become a global power through the ‘Five Ts’ – talent, trade, tradition, tourism and technology, and has been a huge attraction for visitors to the Expo.

We recognised the value our e-learning programme would bring in helping our trade partners attract more visitation to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Q.2. What will you highlight through this specialised program?

India offers a huge opportunity for every segment of the travel and tourism industry due to the sheer size and scale of the landscape. The online training program highlights the multi-faced offering of the Expo, providing information on various elements including ticketing, guided group tours, Covid-19 safety measures and information on events and special days including National Days, Christmas, Lunar new year.

The e-learning program also guides travel agents in arranging business and social activities, as well as social engagements, based on the interest of visitors. This enables travel agents to curate more personalised itineraries for their clients.

Q. 3. How will the Indian travel trade benefit from this e-learning program?

A huge site located between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Expo 2020 is spread across 4.38 sqkm. The site features more than 200 pavilions to explore and programming that consists of up to 60 live events each day, there is a lot one can do at the Expo, and no two days are ever the same.

The training programme assists the travel trade to better understand the Expo 2020 offering, to give their customers a personalised, curated and accurate advice and information ahead of their visit.

Travel agents and tour operators will also be in a better position to target the right customer base, while capitalising on attractive commissions from the sale of tickets and packages, presenting a whole new business opportunity.

Q.4. Could you tell us about your target audience?

Expo 2020 is for everyone, whether families, couples, friends, business travellers or students and caters to a variety of ages and interests. A huge focus for us is on leisure (VFR, families, couples & friends), business (multi-nationals and large corporates, SMEs-founders & employees, start-ups and entrepreneurs, trade delegation, Government entities) and youth (schools, universities).

October, the opening month of Expo 2020 Dubai, was a huge success, with an impressive 2.3 million individual visits, rising to 4.1 million visits by 21 November, just seven weeks into Expo 2020.

Figures at the end of October show that an impressive 17 per cent of the total visits came from overseas, with the top five most popular overseas markets consisting of India, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia and the UK. Our data also showed that the majority of visitors tend to visit multiple times, with more than half (53 per cent) holding a Season Pass, more than a quarter (27 per cent) entering with a Multi-Day Pass and 20 per cent entering on a one-day ticket.

So far, 28 percent of visits were made by people under 18 years old, but this figure is expected to grow as the Expo School Programme expands during the cooler months ahead.

Q.5. Enlighten us on the kind of safety & security measures being implemented at the Expo site.

Expo 2020 Dubai has acted responsibly to meet the challenges of COVID-19. The health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone working and visiting Expo 2020 is our number one priority and we have a comprehensive set of precautionary measures in line with guidance from the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and the latest information and advice from the World Health Organization.

We have implemented several precautionary measures across the site. These include but are not limited to the requirement of proof of vaccination or PCR tests before entering the site, face masks, the encouragement of social-distancing, hand sanitiser stations, frequent cleaning, and sanitisation of the site.

Expo 2020 Dubai continues to act responsibly to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Our purpose of bringing together people, communities, and nations to build bridges, inspire action and deliver real-life solutions to real-life challenges is more relevant now than ever before. We are proud to welcome the world to a safe and secure event.

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