Intelak, the UAE’s aviation, travel, and tourism-focused incubator, marked International Women’s Day with an ideation workshop and mentoring session to dive into the history of, and activate the participation of GCC women in the region’s travel industry. This was the first time Intelak hosted an ideation workshop that targeted the growth of GCC female-led businesses and ideas in the travel sector.
Women and men from more than ten countries participated in the event, with dozens of ideas evolving from the interactive session. These ideas can later be submitted for consideration to participate in the sixth edition of the Intelak Incubator program. Intelak is led by the Emirates Group, GE (NYSE: GE) and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). The three principal partners provide seed funding and expert support and training for young innovators to convert their aviation, travel and tourism-related ideas into tangible businesses.
Stakeholders from across the startup ecosystem; female and male employees from all three entities; and students from various universities in the UAE took part. The ideation session was titled ‘The Evolution of the GCC Female Traveler’ and was aimed at opening a dialogue on the history and needs of GCC female travelers, as well as the start-up business opportunities that exist in the industry.
Rehab Mansoor, New Ventures Manager at dnata, opened the session with a discussion around the research on the evolution of the GCC female traveler and what new business opportunities exist to support their growth. The talk was followed by a workshop and ideation session on new business opportunities that are focused on and/or led by GCC female travelers.
One of the key findings to come out of the session was that over the last 10 years, there has been a dynamic shift in how GCC women travel. Their needs, as well as the opportunities that exist to make travel safer, more comfortable and inclusive, have evolved significantly. The findings also draw on the recent trend of women serving as the key decision makers for family holiday bookings, according to the Amadeus Consumer Travel Report 2018, which further states that women lead in the GCC nationals’ group, with 63% serving as the sole decision makers.
Further underlining the role of women in travel, the session highlighted the emerging trend of Gulf families displaying a greater tendency to travel in smaller groups rather than in multi-generational large family groups, which was traditionally their preferred travel pattern. The motivation for such travel is the desire to de-stress, relax and enjoy quality time with immediate family, as found in the 2018 European Travel Commission Report.
The ideas proposed at the workshop took into consideration key travel trends from across the GCC. According to the 2018 European Travel Commission Report, over two-thirds of GCC nationals traveled to Europe with family members and another 7% traveled with family and friends. Nearly a fifth (19%) went to Europe with friends while 5% travelled alone.
Founded in 2016, Intelak brings together entrepreneurs and students from across the UAE to participate in an aviation, travel and tourism-focused Incubator program. Meaning ‘taking off’ in Arabic, Intelak supports young entrepreneurs to become part of the innovative ecosystem in the UAE. Since 2016, Intelak has garnered over 1,000 applications; more than 80 teams have participated in the pre-incubation bootcamp; and twenty teams have received thousands of hours of mentoring from the Principal Partners and ecosystem leaders.