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Posted by Karen Thornalley

Pansy Gonsalvez



Having always dreamed of a career in travel, I came to Dubai 20 years ago armed with a degree in Psychology, looking to pursue a vocation in child psychology if I could not make an entry into something travel related.

I knocked on the doors of several travel companies, until I found one that offered me a position as a trainee. I started with the Alpha, Bravo, Charlie of the travel world, and never looked back. Within a year I had offers from other companies, and chose to move into one offering me a position in business travel. Eighteen months later, after learning the subtleties of the business end of travel, I applied for a position with the business travel wing of DNATA. However, my GM and mentor saw the “people person” in me, and felt I should give leisure travel a try for at least 6 months. Although I was initially apprehensive about this change, I am thankful to him for guiding me into an area that I excelled at and grew to love. I achieved most of the goals I set myself, established a reputation in the industry, which eventually resulted in my setting up a travel company from scratch for an investor, specializing in soft adventure, sporting holidays, and travel packages off the beaten track.

My fondest memories are of the many interesting people I interacted with. The mentors who helped shape my future, and the several customers who remain the best of friends long after I stopped managing their travel plans. Several years ago I was offered the challenge of side stepping into the unfamiliar world of golf related inbound travel, which was growing in leaps and bounds in keeping with the vision for Dubai. How could I refuse?

I now work with Dubai Golf, the first and best golf management company in the UAE, promoting our clubs, Emirates Golf Club and The Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, and Dubai as a golf destination around the world. While Dubai is an established holiday destination for traditional culture, unrivaled shopping, idyllic beaches and international dining, my focus is to add our wide variety of golf courses and leisure facilities to the menu. We also participate in Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing’s promotional activities in golf destinations around the world, building awareness of our facilities, and establishing partnerships with golf tour operators. In addition to the mature golf markets in North America and Europe, we are targeting the enormous growth in the sport in emerging markets like India, China and South Africa.

The hard work put in by my team and I contributed to Dubai being awarded the International Association of Golf Tour Operator’s “Golf Destination of the Year (Middle East, Africa & the Indian Ocean)” in 2009 and again in 2013. While I am fortunate to have pursued the career of my dreams, and am satisfied with the career choices I have made thus far, I look on every day as a learning experience, and am sure there is a lot more to achieve in this constantly evolving industry. enquiries@expatbusinesswoman.com

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