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Taking the Kingdom’s Travel to the Next Level

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 Interview with Mr. Suhaib Kidawi, CEO of Global Travel & Tours

Global Travel & Tours has been playing a pivotal role in the Kingdom’s travel and tourism industry for more than 4 decades. The first online travel agency which is catering its services to all non-IATA travel agents in Bahrainis getting popular in GCC and generating good numbers for most of the airlines in Bahrain. Mr. Suhaib Kidawi, CEO of Global Travel & Tours details the future of the company as well as the upcoming travel trends in the Kingdom as well as GCC.

Mr. Suhaib Kidwai
Mr. Suhaib Kidwai

You’ve been playing a major role in the travel and tourism sector of the Kingdom since 2006. Can you detail your experience so far for our readers?

Well, after working for 12 years in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, I moved to Bahrain in February 2006.  The culture, atmosphere, attitude, behavior, and professional approach toward business was the major difference that has attracted me to stay back in Bahrain till today.

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I managed to bring 3 major carriers i.e. Oman Air, Jet Airways, and FLYDUBAI including Lufthansa City Center to the Kingdom from 2006 to 2009 in my previous role.   

Global Travel & Tours has brought many innovative developments into the travel aspects of the Kingdom. Can you highlight a few of them?

I am with Global Travel since October 2015. I was hired for the role to establish the name and develop a decent corporate culture and it seems that we are on the right track.  We manage to run all three types of the business orthodox travel business, corporate business, and online business.

Mr. Suhaib Kidwai with the chairman of
Global Travel & Tours Mr. Salahuddin Alireza

Global Travel & Tours is the first online travel agency, which is catering its services to all non-IATA travel agents in Bahrain. How is this benefitting travelers and agents alike?

We are one of the oldest travel agencies in Bahrain, hence its name is helping me in develop this business.   At present, we have 150 plus travel agents onboard with us and I wish we can double this number by end of the year 2023.   We have divided our online business carefully into two parts i.e. B2B and B2C so that we can cater our services according to their value and business requirements.

The B2B and B2C online portals of Global Travel & Tours are quite popular. How do you suggest the users can take the best out of them?

As far as our users are concerned, they are smart enough to take the best out of our system.  In fact. we improve our product on their feedback.  Hence they don’t need our suggestions rather we depend on their suggestions.

How do you analyze the travel trends in GCC in comparison to other regions? How’s Global Travel & Tours catering to these trends?

The GCC market no longer differs from the rest of the world.  In fact, it is changing at a higher pace than the rest of the world due to proper exposure, know-how, and media influence.  Our system is designed to meet any challenge for another 10 years, duly supported by a professional team.

What are the major challenges faced by travel agencies these days?

In the orthodox travel business, we compete among travel agencies only, but in Online Travel Agency (OTA) business, we get a lot of resistance in terms of pricing from the airlines directly.  The challenge here is that we are abiding by the law not to sell below the airline web prices.

Mr. Suhaib Kidwai with Managing Director Mr. Faisal Salahuddin Alireza

What do you suggest to overcome these hurdles?

Keep learning and keep exploring how to overcome them.

What are the travel and tourism opportunities that the Kingdom is yet to explore?

a- Dhow Cruise – As we are surrounded by water, this is a beautiful opportunity to be explored.

b- Hot Air Balloon – There might be a need for security approvals as we tried this before Covid-19, but could not get the required approvals.

What’s next for Global Travel & Tours?

After having offices in Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Canada we were thinking of opening an office in Oman, but due to certain restrictions, we may open an office in Doha before going to Muscat.  Also, we may open an office in Riyadh soon.

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