An 11-strong Abu Dhabi tourism delegation is heading to the Saudi Arabian capital next week to take part in the Riyadh Travel Fair – the Kingdom’s largest consumer travel show which runs from April 15th-18th.
The move comes as the destination looks to build on increasing arrivals from the country and an uplift in air access.
The delegation – led by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority - includes hotels, resorts, the emirate’s entertainment destination of Yas Island, a destination management company and Etihad Airways, the UAE’s award-winning national airline.
In the first two months of this year some 15,502 Saudi Arabians checked into Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments, which was a 26 per cent rise on January and February 2013.
In all the Saudi Arabian arrivals delivered 35,051 guest nights which climbed 29 per cent year-on-year with the guests staying on average just over two nights.
“Saudi Arabia is the most productive of the GCC markets for us and is now our seventh largest international source market,” explained Mubarak Al Shamisi, country manager, Saudi Arabia, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“We believe we can build both the number of Saudi visitors and convince them to extend their length of stay.
“With Etihad Airways having recently launched daily flights between Al Medina and Abu Dhabi, an additional 1,904 seats a week has been added to air lift capacity to the UAE capital.”
Etihad’s new Medina-Abu Dhabi route takes the number of flights a week from Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi International to 68 from four destinations: Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Medina.
“We are well provided for in terms of air capacity through services from both Etihad and Saudi Arabian Airlines,” explained Al Shamisi.
TCA Abu Dhabi is looking to lure Saudi visitors with its value-for-money hotel rates, its ever-increasing tourism product and its packed programme of world-class events.
“In terms of value for money Abu Dhabi is now hard to beat when costs are considered against the high level of facilities and services offered,” said Al Shamisi.
“Our average room rate is currently running at SR458 and visitors can expect even greater deals during the upcoming Abu Dhabi Summer Season.
“We have a product which has increasing appeal within the Saudi market as we are a safe destination for families, have familiarity of product given our destination’s Islamic roots, the accommodation options which suit Saudi families and the high-end attractions, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which go down well with the kids and adults.
“In addition, we have an emerging Halal tourism product which we are beginning to nurture.”