Europcar surprised by growth, expands further in ME

Guest Writer

Car rental firm Europcar has witnessed 50% growth year-to-date in Middle East business compared to 2010.”Our key outbound growth markets have been Germany, Austria and Switzerland,” Middle East Sales Manager Olivier Boucher told TDME.”In terms of source markets, Saudi Arabia has grown of course because this was our first year with outlets in this market, but the big surprise has been the UAE, particularly Dubai.”He said Dubai sales had grown by an impressive 60%.”I was expecting a decline for Dubai, but what travel agents have told me is that last year no one travelled to Europe because of Swine Flu - so they travelled this year instead,” Boucher explained.Looking ahead to 2011, Boucher said Europcar would continue developing the KSA market where the car rental firm now had 12 doors.”We are also opening up in Erbil in Iraq,” he revealed.”There are huge projects there and I’ve been told it’s the Dubai of 10 years ago.”Europcar’s outlet will be based at the new Rotana hotel in Erbil.Another focus for 2011, added Boucher, was for Europcar to court the GCC’s major Travel Management Companies (TMCs).”We are doing well with leisure travel agents so now we need to develop our relationship with TMCs to attract corporate business,” said Boucher.”We have signed with BCD and now we are targeting the likes of Dnata.”With this in mind, Europcar, in conjunction with Air France and the Accor group will sponsor a TMCs football match in Dubai for the second year running in January or February next year.”The agents have requested we run the tournament again,” said Boucher. “It’s a good way to increase our exposure.”

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