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Illusions appoints travel technology expert to spearhead firm’s aggressive expansion strategy in Asia

October 16, 2014 Appointments No Comments Email Email

Accomplished industry professional, Gregory A Duffell, takes on Vice President Sales, Asia role as Illusions sets its sights on conquering one of the world’s biggest travel markets

Gregory Duffell VP Sales – Asia

Rapidly expanding travel technology specialist, Illusions, has stepped up its growth campaign in Asia, by appointing a travel and technology expert with unrivalled experience in this market.

Industry professional, Gregory A Duffell, whose background in technology marketing, tour operating and online trading portals spans 30 years, has joined Illusions as Vice President Sales, Asia.

Having spent the best part of his career based in Asia, the New Zealand national, who speaks two Asian languages (Bahasa and Thai), has been charged with the task of significantly boosting Illusions’ client base across this vast continent.

“My focus is to get Asian DMCs and tour operators on board with Illusions’ travel technology, and to trade on the firm’s revolutionary online travel portal, the i-World Travel eXchange (iWTX),” said Duffell.

“The goal is to get greater breadth and depth of content across the entire continent, including emerging growth markets such as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar and of course, China.

“Asia is the birthplace of trade and now accounts for 50 per cent of the global travel market and my objective is to make this the online travel trading hub of the world, using Illusions technology.”

iWTX enables all Illusions technology users, including DMCs, tour operators and travel agents across five continents, to sell one another’s content in real time.

The Dubai-headquartered firm is currently forging deals with major distributors of travel product to boost content, with a view to making the system available to the entire global travel trade.

The ultimate aim is to create what Illusions CEO Faisal Memon refers to as the “Amazon of the travel industry”.

“I share Faisal’s dream and vision; I too have always wanted to build the NASDAQ of the travel industry,” said Duffell.

“There are successful online global trading systems for finance, commodities, gold and used goods, so why not for travel products and services?

“Illusions is the Formula One of travel technology – it’s fast, it’s versatile and it meets the travel industry’s unique requirements. Operating F1 is not cheap, but the results are phenomenal and its backed-up by a smart pit crew.”

Duffell speaks with authority given his vast experience in the travel and technology industries.

In the late 1990s, in his role of General Manager – Worldwide Network for travel giant, the Thomas Cook Group, he was responsible for setting up one of the industry’s first online transaction systems. The e-commerce solution was rolled out across the group’s 1,000-member-strong retail travel network.

Duffell also possesses in-depth industry knowledge at grassroots level, having headed-up the Bangkok-based DMC, Indochina Services Travel Group. As CEO he doubled company revenues from $20 to $40 million and quadrupled its profit margins in less than three years. His responsibilities covered operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.

From 2009-2011, Duffell was appointed CEO/President of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) – a “change catalyst” role that gave him a “bigger picture” perspective of the continent’s travel industry nuances.

His inherent interest in innovative IT and technology also led him to co-found a Silicon Valley software company, Migo Software in 2003, taking it public in 2005 with Jay Elliot, one of the original Apple senior team members.

Duffell’s previous roles also include Regional Director – Asia Pacific, for Budget Rent A Car, where he single-handedly opened and developed the car rental firm’s Asia and Pacific franchise operations of 200-plus offices. He also advised on e-commerce strategies for the Emirates Group, which saw him get involved in dnata Travel’s acquisition of Travel Republic – the UK’s fourth largest online travel agency and the revamp of dnata’s online site.

“Over the last 12 months I have also created a system called TripXtra, which incorporates ancillary products and all those extras associated with travel such as roaming SIM cards, duty free, restaurants and spa bookings, pushed to travellers mobile devices at the appropriate time in their trip cycle ,” said Duffell.

“If you put this together with Illusions’ flight, hotel and tour content, then you offer the full spectrum of travel products and services to the trade.”

Memon said Duffell’s expertise and experience were second to none, making him the “best man for the job” in Asia.

“Greg understands the Asian market intimately; he has proven abilities in the online trading, marketing and distribution arenas and both micro and macro industry know-how,” he said.

“Greg also shares my vision to create a global online marketplace for the travel industry and there is no doubt in my mind that he will help Illusions conquer the Asian market in a short timeframe.”

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