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5 Mins With… Peter Payet, Senior VP, Arabian Adventures

5 Mins With… Peter Payet, Senior VP, Arabian Adventures

The boss of Dubai’s major excursions firm says the UAE’s cruise sector is one to watch.

What is your company focusing on?

We will continue to strengthen markets such as the GCC, India and China. We are reaching out through strategic marketing to reinforce the UAE’s position as a robust travel market, offering business and leisure infrastructure, service and products.

We will also continue to nurture and maintain our business from strong traditional source markets including Europe (Germany and UK), Russia/CIS and Australia.

Are you concerned that the current volatile global economic climate will affect your strategy?

Of course we are very much aware of global market conditions, but despite economic and political challenges, the region has continued to keep its head above water across a variety of different industries, and travel is no exception.

Recent statistics and reports show that once again visitor numbers in the UAE continue to increase and we are still experiencing an influx of travellers from within the region who are opting to visit the UAE as opposed to other destinations, which are perceived as less politically stable.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?

Due to the unrest in the region, the UAE has gained tourist numbers from markets that were previously popular with travellers. As a result, more business to the UAE has come from markets such as the GCC, Europe, Russia and CIS, as well as China; Scandinavia has also recorded some healthy figures.

What new products will your company launch this year?

We have just recently launched a new excursion – ‘Rags to Riches’ –a half day shopping tour in Dubai which highlights the diversity of shopping on offer in the destination. From an authentic wholesale warehouse where you can browse the aisles of souvenirs, to the Arabic arts and handicrafts of Jumeirah and onward and upward to the chic boutiques of The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

Will you be expanding into new territory?

As ever, we will continue to evaluate our business model to explore areas we feel we can develop and grow. In particular, the cruise industry is one that we are committed to in the coming years. The UAE’s investment in cruise infrastructure will open up new business opportunities across the country, especially for a destination management company like Arabian Adventures.

What are the biggest challenges for UAE businesses in your sector in 2012?

Naturally, the Arab Spring is likely to remain a challenge for Arabian Adventures due to the impact that it has had on MENA’s travel and tourism sector.

The UAE remains a safe haven within the region however the perception of the Middle East, in some parts of the world, is that the area as a whole is one to be treated with caution.

In these times it is important for the UAE to reaffirm its position as a strong business and leisure hub with new developments. Abu Dhabi is key to this process and the development of the Louvre museum and the Real Madrid Stadium in Ras Al Khaimah will attract yet more visitors.

What’s your leadership style?

I am a people’s person who is very approachable and down to earth and can communicate across all cultures. I praise a job well done but I have high expectations, everyone from our drivers to the senior management team is expected to perform at their very best and motivate and nurture those they work with.

What makes the perfect employee?

There is no such thing as a perfect employee. Here at Arabian Adventures we make sure we employ personalities, people that have a real passion for the business.

Academic qualities are obviously important but you can easily teach someone how to do a job, you cannot teach someone how to have heart and soul. Working in this industry can be very demanding and our teams are always being stretched to exceed customer expectations.

Define success in five words…

Respect, health, fulfillment, happiness and wealth.

Three tips for becoming the boss…

– Always think outside the box, this means having to take calculated risks.
– Be a good listener. Listen to the expertise of your team; it’s not just about giving advice but also being prepared to take it.
– You can only be as good and those you work with; it’s always good to remember that. No matter how senior you are, you still need to earn respect.

When I’m not at work I like to…

I like to spend time with my family, especially because it’s not a luxury I always have as I’m very often travelling. Originally from the Seychelles, I inherited my cooking skills from my mother and grandmother and I really enjoy cooking big Asian and Creole style feasts for the family and friends, so there’s always a social occasion in our kitchen. I also like sport fishing, so often venture out to catch sail fish and tuna when I can find the time.

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