Breaking new ground in travel

Maldives if a popular destination for the honeymooners

THE SHARAF Group, headquartered in Dubai, UAE, announced the restructure of its travel and tourism companies at the end of last year which resulted in the formation of a new group identity known as the Sharaf Travel & Tourism Group.

Salah Sharaf, chairman, Sharaf Travel & Tourism Group said, “In our 16 years of operation, we have grown to become one of the largest travel and tourism providers in the region.  With increased growth and business diversification, it was important that previously independent tourism related businesses came under one umbrella.”
 “Our operations cover inbound, outbound, leisure and corporate travel and most recently have expanded to include space tourism.  Following the establishment of Sharaf Travel & Tourism we have achieved greater synergies in our business.”
Sharaf Travel was established in 1991, by brothers Ibrahim Sharaf and Sharafuddin Sharaf, with the primary aim to provide quality travel services to business and leisure travelers. Today, Sharaf Travel is a well established and progressive travel agency operating in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. 
 As the agency arm of Sharaf Travel & Tourism Group, Sharaf Travel is the general sales agent for several airlines including ANA, Delta, Finnair, LTU, South African Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Bangkok Airways, Hainan Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, GMG, Icelandair, Virgin Nigeria, Afriqiyah Airways and Eritrean Airlines.
The agency also represents various leisure travel products including cruises, tourism boards and special interest brands such as student travel. 
At the end of 2007 Sharaf Travel launched a new online Honeymoon programme called “The Honeymoon Collection” is a new online ( bridal registry service specifically linked to honeymoons. 
“An increasing number of people are marrying later in life.  As such their homes are often well established and the last things they need as a gift on their special day are pots and pans,” said John Kerr, managing director, Sharaf Travel & Tourism.  
“The Honeymoon Collection provides bridal couples with the opportunity to select the honeymoon of their dreams and then through the expert assistance of the Sharaf Travel team, have it broken down into smaller components, enabling guests to contribute to the cost of specific experiences instead of a traditional gift,” he added.
Oasis Adventures is the inbound destination management company of the group.  Oasis Adventures combines strong knowledge of the rich traditions and local culture of the Arabian Peninsula to offer a superior level of service to all visitors.
 “Oasis Adventures prides itself on attention to detail and seamless service, taking care of everything from city tours and desert experiences to hotel accommodations and visa formalities.  Tailor made itineraries and catering to specific needs and budgets is our specialty,” said Kerr.
At last year’s ATM Sharaf Travel was announced as the exclusive accredited space office in the Middle East for Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial space line. Virgin Galactic is a company established by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to undertake the challenge of developing space tourism for the consumer.  By the end of the decade, Virgin Galactic is planning to make it possible for almost anyone to visit the final frontier at an affordable price.     
“Already we have sold several seats to both Emirati and foreign nationals,” said Sharon Garrett, head of Space Marketing & PR, Virgin Galactic Accredited Space Office, Middle East.
“There has been an incredible level of interest among both individuals and corporates who are fascinated with the Virgin Galactic product,” she added.  
Sharaf Travel & Tourism now offers A Taste of Space packages whereby prospective passengers can try the Virgin Galactic flight profile in a fully controlled and safe environment in the centrifuge at the Nastar Center in North America. 
Visit Sharaf Travel & Tourism visit on stand UAE 580 at ATM.