Travelwings CEO on making travel more accessible

Estimated read time 5 min read

Albert Fernando is the CEO and founder of Travelwings. JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA

Travelwings CEO on making travel more accessible

Travelwings CEO Albert Fernando makes an average of 40 trips around the world per year. The trendsetter is on a mission to give people access to meaningful travel experiences through his ever-expanding online travel agency.

“Travel was always a passion for me since the age of 12,” Albert tells Expat Media in one of the rare interviews at his Dubai office. Even though his marketing manager informs us that we only have an hour before he catches a flight for his next meeting, Albert is gracious with his time, especially when it comes to talking about his passion.

“I used to travel with my mother as a kid, and the memories of our cherished trips left a profound impact on me. Travel, to me, is an enriching and empowering pursuit. It acts as a source of beauty, knowledge and cherished memories. These empowering experiences were the inspiration behind creating Travelwings,” Albert shares.

Describing himself as a “good travel student”, Albert says: “I have a passion for learning, and each journey is an opportunity for personal growth where you can build character, learn about new cultures, meet new people and gain insights. However, I don’t believe in gatekeeping that knowledge. Instead, I make it a point to share my learnings with others. I firmly believe that the more you give, the more you receive.”

Since the inception of Travelwings in the UAE in 2016, the online travel agency has been reshaping the travel industry and elevating travel experiences for the modern-day traveler. Travelwings has grown immensely over the past decade and is now present in 32 countries.

Born and raised in the tourism hub that is Dubai, Albert was immersed in an environment where travel is an integral part of people’s life. His expat parents, who loved traveling, frequently visited their home country, India. Albert’s love for travel peaked when, at the age of 17, he joined one of the world’s largest air services providers in Dubai. “I was picking up calls in the reservations department. Then I was promoted as a travel agent in the counters,” he says, “It was an opportunity to understand the business and learn it. I wanted to take it by heart.”

“The travel market is experiencing unprecedented growth. The demand is fueled by more people, particularly digital-savvy millennials and GenZs, choosing travel experiences as a way for personal growth and self-expression,” Albert elaborates.

Albert established Travelwings to give people the power to create travel experiences with just one click. “Our focus has been to digitize markets that are difficult to digitize. We are expanding in countries like Africa where there is less credit card penetration. In these markets, we’ve partnered with local payment providers, ensuring that consumers without credit cards can make payments after completing their online travel bookings,” he says.

With 26 years of experience in the travel business and his love for e-commerce, it was easy for Albert to merge travel with technology. “We want to create immersive experiences for our consumers. So, we have innovated the technology to match our vision. For example, when you are making a booking for more than two passengers, you can do it with just a few clicks and then check out instead of filling up so many forms,” he explains.

Moreover, Travelwings is also working on ultra-flexible travel bookings that allow people to mix and match their flights. “For example, you can fly on economy class to your destination, and then get on business class on your return flight, so you have a flexible fare,” he says.

Albert reveals that Travelwings is launching new product lines and services in 2024 that would give travelers instant information, from flight arrival to boarding gate alerts and baggage tracking.

“We are trying to create a great experience focusing on the consumer journey,” he adds. For his trendsetting efforts, Albert has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Leaders in the Middle East and Most Influential CEO in UAE by CEO Monthly.

“Travelwings is all about inspiring people, keeping them smiling. That’s the DNA. We also want to expand to a lot of countries and create a lot of jobs, while transforming offline travel to online,” Albert says.

Travel tips plus myths debunked

Travelwings CEO debunks travel myths and also shares his own travel tips

Flight tickets are cheaper if bought after midnight.
It’s a myth and I’ll tell you why. Every airline is based in different geographies around the world so your midnight is not their midnight. It’s technically not possible that by midnight you’ll get cheaper seats.

Booking flights in advance saves money.
True. Either you book well in advance or look at last minute deals. Often, you get those deals at rock bottom prices.

You can save more with travel combos.
If you are going to book a flight, hotel and car, combine them. Don’t buy them separately. You’ll save a lot of money.

ICA/Expat Media

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