Car rental broker Holiday Autos Middle East has taken a stake in Blue Banana - the UAE's online shop for alternative gifts and experiences.
The deal will see Blue Banana leverage Holiday Autos' booking portal technology, making it possible for travel agents to book the company's products online - and earn commission.
"Hopefully, before the end of the year, travel agents will be able to book and sell Blue Banana experiences," explained Holiday Autos Middle East managing director Naz Musa.
"And for hoteliers, we will act as an extension to their concierge desk."
Found at www.bluebanana.ae, Blue Banana currently sells a wide range of products, from fishing, sailing and driving and fishing experiences, to spa treatments and pampering sessions. Musa said there were plans to add even more products including a ‘beef and guns' package involving a shooting session at the Dubai Shooting Club, followed by a steak, all for the price of AED 295 (US $80).
"Other ideas include desert safaris with Hummers," he added.
According to Musa, local travel agents are starting to embrace the online booking concept and Holiday Autos' internet sales currently account for 68% compared to 20% three years ago.
He hoped agents' familiarity with the Holiday Autos brand and website would encourage them to book Blue Banana products online.
Musa also runs Gulf Reps, a Dubai-based destination marketing company with a portfolio of products that includes Tourism Ireland and Tempo Holidays representation in the GCC.
He revealed the company had employed a new account manager for Tourism Ireland, Irish national, Aiveen Ryan, who would plan a number of high profile events to promote the destination, starting in January or February with an Irish Festival.