DESPITE the grim economic outlook elsewhere, Thrifty Car Rental is one company that has been expanding rapidly during 2009.
Sam Eltibi, executive director for Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Mena and Asia Pacific told TTN what the group has been up to.
“Recently, Thrifty Car Rental extended its four-year relationship with Majid Al Futtaim Properties to include a rental counter in City Centre in Ajman. The company also opened up a new branch office in Sanaya, Al Ain, close to the heart of the city.
“We announced extensive expansion activities in Oman. In line with the rapid developments of the Sultanate, Thrifty Oman relocated its headquarters to the industrial area of Ghala. Thrifty also opened a new retail location in Al Kuwair, Muscat, to meet car rental demands within the city.
“Thrifty expanded in Morocco following an agreement with the Moroccan Airports Authority to inaugurate counters in the airports of Agadir, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangier.
“In fact the opening of four new outlets has prompted Thrifty to increase its fleet size in Morocco up 35 per cent from the same period last year, stocking up on a variety of vehicles, ranging from small to luxury cars, 4x4s and minivans.
“Thrifty Car Rental in Lebanon especially experienced impressive growth in revenue for the summer period, up more than a 30 per cent on the same period in 2008, and we have also expanded into Turkey inaugurating two counters at the domestic and international arrivals of Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.
“This comes to a total of 57 Thrifty locations in the Mena region.
“Although international tourist numbers decreased and corporate cutbacks caused a drop in business rentals, we saw other aspects that caused an increase in car rentals.
“For instance, in the summer period the H1N1 pandemic in the rest of the world, combined with people tightening their belts, caused a lot of people in the Middle East to take their vacations in the region itself.
“We also saw an opportunity for the car rental industry to help those unable to purchase new cars as banks reined-in their lending policies, leasing was an economical and reliable alternative.”
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