October 2014, Issue: 10 Volume: 32

Cover Story

Monassar... 2012 will be the year of investment
Moving ahead with a strong vision for 2012
March 20123

THE Vision Destination Management was created to provide a reliable and professional partner for local and international clients looking to do business in the Gulf.  The company is driven under the leadership of its chairman and owner Ali Abu Monassar, a well-known travel and tourism professional with  more than 25 years experience in the industry.

“The move to launch Vision Destination Management, over two years ago  came during a very critical time,” says Monassar. “We have seen such great support from our clients and suppliers and have gone from one success to another.  All the successes we’ve seen and our representation in the local, regional and international market are largely due to the hard work put in by our team.”

Monassar’s reputation as a pioneer in the local tourism and travel industry is also a huge driving factor to the success of the company. After spearheading the Net Group for over 25 years he branched out on his own with The Vision DMC.

The Vision is committed to be a driving force in the promotion of the region and caters to three main segments:

Leisure destination management: FITs, leisure groups, cruise handling, back to back and charter operations with both regular and ad-hoc itineraries;

Mice destination management: incentive groups, product launches, conventions, conferences, exhibitions, sport events with a dedicated team expert in bidding and ground handling; and

Local Consultancy.

“The UAE has established its position in the tourism arena in the global industry and this includes various aspects including leisure, mice cruises, making it a dynamic platform for all kinds of activities. The sheer number of events held in the country today has increased the awareness of the destination in the global market. The UAE is safe and stable country and cleans out all the bad labels it had acquired in the last couple of years,” says Monassar.

The Vision Destination Management Company already boasts two branches in the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi) and one in Oman (Muscat) and works with Reed Exhibitions as ground handler for two of the region’s biggest travel trade shows - the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) in Abu Dhabi, which is being held this month, and the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai which will be held in May.

“In 2010, we successfully created a great promotion for the meetings industry because we had availability. The hotels prepared some great facilities and added so much value with free meeting rooms; better delegate rates, etc. We saw a huge growth in the meetings industry. Last year we saw a huge demand in the leisure industry. This was because of the political unrest in other parts of the region.

The closing of markets like Tunisa, Egypt and Syria saw tourists flocking into the UAE – which offered tourists a safe and family-friendly holiday destination,” says Monassar.

Monassar adds that hotels in Dubai easily doubled their revenues in 2011 as compared to 2010. The growth into the country was over 50 per cent and Monassar believes that this has led to more confidence in the market thus restarting stalled projects and rebuilding new hotels and residences.

“I believe this growth is healthy and will continue into 2012,” says Monassar.

“I am optimistic but also careful. We have forecast a 20-30 per cent growth over 2011 for Vision. In January alone, we have already surpassed that, so am pretty confident.”

For Vision, Monassar says 2012 will be the year of investment. “What we have gained in 2011 has allowed us to think wisely. We realise we might not have this same growth every year and know this is the time to diversify our activities, in terms of markets and segments. This year we are participating in more than 25 exhibitions and road shows with Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tourism authorities. We have also signed up a new representation in Germany and have plans to target new markets like Japan, China and Russia.

“These are three brand new markets for us, and we are not looking to compete with other providers, since we are a small niche market.

“We have also included golf in our portfolio and have already seen much interest as well we the cruise sector. While cruising may be for mass tourism, it is very much determined by its location and activities,” he adds.

Monassar is keen to expand into two other destinations, including Bahrain and Qatar. “We are in no rush and have currently held this back until the situation in Bahrain is a little more stable. Nevertheless we are continuing to promote these two destinations,” he says.

The Vision Destination Management has also launched a new section, Vision Arabia, which will provide consultancy services for a wide range of tourism projects and developments.