Ankur Thakuria, Regional Director APAC and ME, Tiqets
Tiqets, the leading international online booking platform for museum & attraction experiences has come to our rescue many times for last minute bookings while on holiday. Tiqets’ mission is to make culture more accessible by making it easier for people to discover more ways to culture and the company works with both hidden gems and top museums and attractions all over the world.
Recently Tiqets announced the winners for the 6th annual Remarkable Venue Awards (RVAs), which celebrates the best museums and attractions in nine countries around the world. UAE winners include the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Dubai Frame, The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi, and La Perle by Dragone.
We connect with Ankur Thakuria, Regional Director APAC and ME, Tiqets and speak to him about how Tiqets connects millions of people to museums and attractions with instant, last-minute and mobile tickets. Ankur has been with Tiqets since 2017, where he started out leading the expansion in key Southeast Asian destinations and is now responsible for many of the company’s key markets, including Dubai, Singapore and Australia. He shares with us his thoughts for the Middle Eastern market.
How many UAE venues are currently available on Tiqets.com?
We have over 250 live experiences listed on Tiqets.com for UAE at this moment. The number of experiences is still growing as we continue to expand in the region and into new categories. Tiqets currently offers mobile bookings to more than 7,000 of the best experiences worldwide in 1,300 cities across the globe.
Which type of venues seem to be receiving the most ticket sales?
Our top selling categories in UAE are attractions like the observation decks, museums & theme parks. Some of our top partners in the UAE include ‘At The Top’ (Burj Khalifa), The View at the Palm, Dubai Parks, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World, etc. This category is closely followed by Desert Safari & Cruise experiences.
How major is the boost in terms of ticket purchasing to UAE attractions since travel restrictions have eased?
Some of our top venue partners have seen sales growth on Tiqets by over 200% this year compared to 2019 numbers. UAE was among the first countries around the world to relax travel restrictions and that has clearly benefited the local tourism industry. Our sales numbers surpassed pre-pandemic levels quite early this year and we have hit record numbers for many of our venue partners in 2022 owing to a strong demand in inbound tourist arrivals.
In your opinion, how do venues in the UAE stack up to the rest of the world?
Venues in UAE are in a strong position given the growing demand for Dubai as a destination for inbound tourists. Compared to venues in many of the legacy destination cities like London, Paris & New York, venues in Dubai are doing well and have maintained a strong track record since their reopening after covid lockdowns. With the increased focus on international arrivals, there’s also a strong willingness from customers to visit more venues during their holidays. We know this as we have seen an increase in average customer spend per order for our sales in Dubai & Abu Dhabi.
Since the reopening in 2021 – 2022, demand for UAE has seen such a big growth on Tiqets that we’ve expanded our annual Tiqets’ Remarkable Venue Awards to include UAE as a market this year which was very well received by partners in the region.
How has business been post pandemic – would you be able to share any stats with regards to Overall sales and the impact of COVID-19 on the business and the recovery since then?
Tiqets’ overall growth has been exponential this year compared to 2019. As mentioned, we surpassed our 2019 numbers quite early this year. In the UAE, to date in 2022, Tiqets’ has recorded an increase of over 220% in terms of absolute ticket sales numbers compared to 2019. And the peak season has just started for this year, so we hope to close the year even stronger in the UAE.