Asia Pacific-based travel metasearch engine Wego has announced the launch of a dedicated full-service operation in Dubai as part of its global expansion strategy.
The move follows a year of record growth in the Middle East region.
Wego launched the world’s first comprehensive Arabic language travel metasearch site www.wego.ae, in April 2012, to cater to a growing desire amongst travellers to compare travel options and book online.
Wego compares over 700 travel sites to present its comprehensive results. The inventory includes 600 full service and low cost airlines, 350,000 hotels and resorts, as well as 400,000 recently integrated vacation rentals.
Mohamad Ibrahim Masri has been appointed to head up the regional office in Dubai Internet City. Masri brings 16 years of regional tourism industry experience to the role, in sales, marketing and management. He previously represented Tourism Malaysia, and founded consulting firm BizGate which represented Wego during its initial launch in the region.
Ross Veitch, co-Founder and CEO of Wego commented: "Essential to the continued expansion and success of Wego in MENA is strong management, along with an established relationship with both the business and travelling communities which is why we’re very excited to have Mohamad join our executive team.
According to a recent report by PhoCusWright, the online travel sector in the UAE is set to grow by 24% in 2013 and 22% in 2014 to reach $9.5 billion, of which online travel agents will produce $3.2 billion.
Wego says it predicts an even higher trajectory driven also by direct bookings with its airline partners including Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways, integrated hotel sites and aggregators, such as Booking.com.
Wego operates over 50 websites in 30 languages around the world, managing millions of flight and hotel searches each month. According to Wego, the number of users across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is already equal in numbers to those using the company’s mature European sites. Travellers in the Middle East and North Africa now account for one in every seven searches on the site.
Masri said: “Arab travellers embrace Wego as a means to gain control of their travel plans and enjoy greater value for money. The travel comparison shopping concept has huge appeal among internet users in the region, who are almost universally regular travellers. We are working with the flagship carriers, hotel brands and online travel agents across the Middle East, but the priority is going to be further integration and customisation to meet the burgeoning demand right into the longtail.”