The Galleria becomes 1st UAE destination to offer utu travel privileges

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Al Maryah Retail Company_utu Privileges partnership
Rep.Image | Courtesy: The Galleria Al Maryah Island

Al Maryah Retail Company, operator of The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi’s distinguished lifestyle destination, has partnered with utu, a global travel technology company, to allow tourists the opportunity to reap the benefits of tax-free shopping on their travels to Abu Dhabi.

This marks the debut for utu and the utu Privileges service in the region, exclusively premiering at The Galleria in November 2023, and marking a new chapter for tourism retail in the UAE.

The Galleria is proud to become the first destination in the UAE to offer utu Privileges for guests, rewarding tourists with additional value on purchases. For example, on a transaction of AED 10,000 ($2,723), a tourist receives approximately AED 410 ($112) as a tax refund from the AED 480 ($131) paid in VAT. utu Privileges provides tourists with AED 520 ($142)of value which they can re-spend immediately on another purchase via utu’s app. The benefits are clear, receive more today rather than less tomorrow. This tourist-exclusive benefit is now a reality at The Galleria, ushering in a new era of tourism retail in the UAE.

According to the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, tourism is a key contributor to the UAE economy, accounting for 9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022, and this number is expected to rise significantly in 2024 and beyond. With incredible growth on the horizon, The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has embarked on ambitious initiatives to solidify the UAE’s position as a global travel destination, with an estimated 40 million hotel guests anticipated by 2031. The Galleria’s partnership with utu, therefore, fits well in sweetening the value proposition for tourists.

David Robinson_Al Maryah Retail Company_utu partnership
David Robinson
CEO – Al Maryah Retail Company

“We’re proud to be the first in the UAE to offer this exciting opportunity to tourists. Reaffirming our positioning as the premier destination for shopping, dining, luxury and exclusivity, this partnership allows us to offer an extraordinary shopping experience, where non-residential guests can enjoy immediate benefits and find more reasons to indulge in our exclusive offering and with exclusive benefits at The Galleria.”

The Galleria is revolutionizing the retail experience for tourists like never before. Instead of receiving a portion of the VAT refund, tourists will now enjoy exceptional and immediate value that surpasses what they typically receive when processing their VAT refunds at the point of departure. This generous offering not only encourages increased retail sales but also creates a unique customer journey that effectively retains the VAT refund within the country as a second spend before tourists depart the UAE.

For every $100 million in refunds processed at the point of departure, utu estimates its technology could generate $160 million in additional spending with UAE based merchants, setting a significant milestone in the UAE and ultimately contributing to the UAE’s economy.

Mr. Ameer Jumabhoy, Co-Founder of utu and CCO of utu Privileges, said that “We are thrilled to partner with The Galleria Al Maryah Island to showcase the future of tourism retail here in the UAE. This strategic alliance highlights our unwavering commitment to innovation and our mission to offer tourists visiting Abu Dhabi an unparalleled shopping experience. We look forward to engaging with retailers at The Galleria, showcasing how utu’s technology not only creates incremental sales opportunities but also delivers an exceptional and delightful shopping experience.”

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