Silver success for Desert Adventures
Twenty-five years ago, in Dubai that had yet to begin building some of the world’s biggest, tallest, and most breathtaking modern marvels, a team of adventurers came together to form a Destination Management Company (DMC). Desert Adventures was, in fact, one of the first few DMCs to set up operations in Dubai, that offered end-to-end ground services to tour operators around the world. Fast forward to today, and Desert Adventures has become one of the Middle East’s biggest DMC, offering hundreds of adventures and world-class accommodation options.
Desert Adventures CEO, Peter Payet, who has played a significant role in the development of the Dubai’s tourism strategy speaks on the company, its achievements and future plans as it celebrates its Silver Jubilee.
Being a pioneer in the DMC business in Dubai, how has your journey been?
Desert Adventures grew in tandem with Dubai’s growth. It was the first destination in which we offered our services and created experiences, and it continues to be our most popular destination in our portfolio. That growth propelled us to expand our operations across the entire UAE, and in Oman and Jordan, which offer truly unique Arabian experiences. We are also the first Dubai-based DMC to set up operations in Saudi Arabia. We have gone through our fair share of challenges in reaching our 25th anniversary milestone, but today we are proudly partnered with over 2,000 tour operators, agencies, and other travel trade organizations, across the entire globe, who rely on us to provide their clients with our full gamut of destination services.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
The pandemic brought to light the fragility of the travel and tourism industry, and if it weren’t for the fact that Desert Adventures is financially backed by a multi-billion dollar holding firm – Fairfax Financial Holdings, we may have undergone even harder times. The human desire to travel and explore cannot be quenched though, and this year Desert Adventures is marking a record number of guest arrivals in our destinations.
What are some key factors that have helped grow your business recently?
Desert Adventures is one of the strongest DMC partners across Europe, and recently demand for our destinations from region has grown even stronger, especially from the UK. The latest attractions and events in our destination have attracted the British market in greater numbers this year, and we are seeing them book even longer stays than usual. We were also appointed as the only DMC to manage all official tour programs at Expo 2020 Dubai. This has further increased our credibility in the market, as we conducted 23 daily tours in 5 different languages during the six-month mega event. Another factor that should be mentioned, is the recent exponential growth of the luxury segment. Our efforts to develop a dedicated tailor-made department that focuses purely on developing personalized, high-end travel programs has seen immense returns. Without a doubt, we are currently one of best providers of luxury experiences in the Middle East.
How do you see the future for Desert Adventures?
Travel is becoming easier, which is opening up new markets for us. The Americas, which was previously a small segment of our overall business, is now our biggest growth market. We fully expect travellers from both North and South America to compete with our region’s highest source market in the near future. We are also a big proponent of implementing game-changing technology that will help scale our business even further and started using robotic processes to make our transactional process much more efficient. In India, we have implemented advanced digital payments solutions that accept payment in the local currency. More recently, we have added Maldives destination products on our booking platform, connecting our clients to best resorts on islands with the best rates. In essence, we see much more growth in our future.
As Desert Adventures enters a new era, how prepared are you to face the new challenges?
We enter the next chapter of our story well aware that our industry will not look the same 25 years from now. We believe great things lie ahead for our industry along with challenges, and we as a company will continue to adapt to shifting trends and market requirements. Albeit no matter how we evolve and what shape our industry takes, our objective as a company will always remain the same as it was when we first started – to create adventures of a lifetime.