Aspire parent expands into Middle East

Aspire's parent company Jacobs Media Group has expanded into the Middle East with a new multimedia brand to inform and connect the region’s travel and hospitality industries.

Connecting Travel will be based at newly-established local headquarters in Dubai’s Media City and will cover inbound, outbound and internal trends across the Middle East.

In addition to delivering news and insight via a standalone website, social media channels and email news bulletins, it will also host exclusive events and facilitate partnerships to bring together senior decision makers.

The Dubai-based team will be led by Jacobs Media Group chairman and Holiday Autos founder Clive Jacobs, supported by commercial director Paula Lacey and editorial director Sarah Hedley Hymers.

Lacey has previously worked for some of the world’s biggest travel brands, having held senior positions at Tui Group and Thomas Cook, while Hedley Hymers previously ran digital content at Condé Nast Traveller Middle East and is an experienced broadcast contributor for international television channel Euronews.

The launch of Connecting Travel expands the Jacobs Media Group portfolio, which includes Travel WeeklyThe CatererTravolutionAspire, Connections, The Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers (Atas) and the Global Travel & Tourism Resilience Council.

The company also recently launched Global Travel Week, an international travel trade event which further develops a worldwide footprint which led to JMG receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade in 2020.

Jacobs said the Connecting Travel project was inspired by the growth of the travel and hospitality industries in the Middle East region and a desire to diversify and strengthen the business following the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “Our market-leading brands inform, support and connect the industries and markets they serve, and we identified an opportunity to bring that established and trusted template to a region which is the crossroads between East and West and will only grow in significance in the years ahead.”

He added: “A brand dedicated to the Middle East has been on our radar for some years now, so it is exciting to turn that into a reality and inform and connect the travel and hospitality trade as The Caterer and Travel Weekly have done in the UK for 143 and 52 years respectively.

“We can also play a key role in helping these destinations reach source markets around the world and develop the understanding of what they offer.”

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