The recently-launched Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau - the dedicated, one-stop-support entity within Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority - has hit the road in the USA with an inaugural roadshow visiting New York, Chicago, & Washington, DC.
The roadshow representatives, including Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company, The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Hala Abu Dhabi, MCI Middle East, Ovation Arabia and Yas Marina Circuit, met with over 200 key members of the USA’s meetings industry.
The roadshow culminated with an educational luncheon in Washington, DC hosted by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates and attended by HE Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States.
Held with the support of the American Society of Association Executives, an organisation of more than 22,000 association executives and industry partners from nearly 11,000 organisations across the USA and in 50 other countries, the luncheon attracted top executives from the associations sector, including the American Association of Museums, Flight Safety Foundation, National Defense Industrial Association, Society of Interventional Radiology and the American College of Cardiology.
In an interview after the event Ambassador Al Otaiba stated: “The UAE is the USA’s single largest export market in the entire Middle-East and North Africa, with $22.5 billion in US exports in 2012 – the fourth straight year the UAE has held this distinction. More than 1,000 US firms have a presence in the UAE.
“US institutions, including New York University, MIT, and the Guggenheim Museum are working closely with a range of educational and cultural organisations in Abu Dhabi. In addition, Etihad Airways - the national carrier of the UAE - has added increased lift to Abu Dhabi with direct flights from New York, Toronto, Chicago, and in a few weeks, Washington, DC bringing the total number of non-stop flights from the Americas to 28 weekly.”
Growing tourism from the US to the UAE as well as the huge potential of the US MICE market was central to the roadshow.
For Abu Dhabi alone, in 2008 US hotel guest nights topped 313,000 with the number rising 44 per cent to over 451,000 last year putting the US among the emirate’s top five international markets.
American visitors are also among Abu Dhabi’s longest-staying hotel guests, staying an average of 5.5 days.
The UAE capital is also seeing increased interest from the US business events sector. In February 2012 Abu Dhabi hosted its largest congress, the US-based World Ophthalmology Congress, which attracted over 12,000 delegates.
In April, Abu Dhabi will host the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit, which will feature a keynote address from president Clinton.