VisitBritain offers UAE agents free online training

Guest Writer

VisitBritain has nominated 25 travel agents from Dubai and 15 from Abu Dhabi to sign up for a free online training programme that aims to improve their knowledge of the UK as a tourism destination.
The E-learning programme, designed for front-line travel agency sales staff, provides them with an in depth knowledge of Britain.
It comprises three modules followed by a quiz. On completion, ‘BritAgent’ status will be awarded to signify expertise in UK travel.
The scheme is being launched at the British Embassy soon as part of a unified approach to highlight the region’s awareness of the UK ahead of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralymic Games.
“Travel agents play a crucial role in assisting our visitors to plan and book their holidays to Britain. By launching the BritAgent Specialist Programme in the UAE, we are able to provide travel agents with the necessary tools to offer improved service to customers, consequently increasing their business,” said Carol Maddison, UAE Manager, VisitBritain.
“With the HM Consul General Guy Warrington hosting and launching the BritAgent Programme at the British Embassy in Dubai on 29th September, and Ambassador Mr Dominic Jermey in Abu Dhabi during the first week of October, we are emphasising our total commitment to the travel trade industry. It is very important in helping us achieve our objectives of increasing tourism traffic and increasing the spending of travellers to the UK.”
Nominated travel agencies will be supplied with a Brit Agent Kit and will have the opportunity to nominate members of staff they want to complete the course, which officially begins on 11 October.  Participants will have until 15 December to complete the online modules.
As a way of encouraging staff to grasp the opportunity to learn more about Britain as a global destination, a graduation ceremony will be held in February in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi for those who successfully complete the modules and certificates will be presented.
‘Britain the Basics’ is the theme of the first online module which consists of an overview of the nation’s history, geography, language as well as practical information such as weather, currency and visa information.
The second module looks at Britain’s top attractions and features a breakdown of regions across the UK and advice on the best things to do during a UK visit. The third component, ‘Experience Britain’, delves into the activities and attractions on offer that will help agents build a strong itinerary for customers.
As global consumers cut back on leisure spending, VisitBritain and UK affiliated travel specialists in the UAE believe such training programmes will help develop a ‘capable and competitive workforce that is able to seize opportunities during the downturn and when the economy recovers’.
With world-stage events such as the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, regional travel agents who have not yet had the chance to travel to the UK themselves, may very well relish the opportunity to learn new skills that could result in an increase in bookings made by Middle East residents wanting to visit the UK.

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