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the first time has moved into South Africa and will compete against major
rivals Travelport, which for 25 years has dominated the market, and Amadeus. South
Africa accounts for 50 percent of all global distribution system bookings in
Africa, according to Sabre figures.
Sabre had not entered the country until now, Sabre Travel Network vice
president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Dean Bibb told BTN: "Primarily, we were focusing
on other areas. The Middle East has been a big region for us. We also wanted to
have an offering that would differentiate us, and we now
feel we have something that is innovative in Sabre Red."
Sabre Red Workspace is the company's web-based booking platform for travel agents. South
Africa is the first country where it will be offered with a standard graphical point-and-click front end, although experienced agents will have the option to instead
use the traditional green-screen code format.
Africa also is the first country Sabre has entered in partnership with Emirates
Group subsidiary EmQuest, outside EmQuest's home market of the United Arab
Emirates. Sabre in 2008 signed a deal with EmQuest to be its UAE representative,
and at the same time sold EmQuest the rights to distribute Sabre in several African
countries. "There will be a lot more of these opportunities with Emirates,"
said Bibb. "I can see us moving into another half-dozen markets together
over the next 18 months."
In the case
of South Africa, Sabre and EmQuest have partnered with Mauritius-based Rogers
Aviation to act as their local representative.