Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority will next week spearhead a European road show spanning seven cities across six countries to spell out to travel trade opportunities emerging from the destination’s dynamic Q4 plans. ADTA was last year recognised as the World’s Leading Tourist Board by the prestigious World Travel Awards.
Accompanied by representatives from Etihad, the multi-award-winning national airline of the United Arab Emirates and its Hala Abu Dhabi destination management arm as well as Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management which manages the Yas Marina Circuit home to the annual F1 Eithad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the road show will begin in Moscow before heading for Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, London, Manchester and ending in the Irish capital, Dublin.
“We will be going all-out to drive consumer awareness of the destination’s up-scaled major events calendar and the superior hotels and resorts due to open soon by spreading the message through trade and media. We will be looking to work with the trade to crystallize development of new event-centric travel packages and promotions to leverage what promises to be a hectic year-end,” said Dayne Lim, Product Development Director, ADTA.
“The seven road show destinations were specifically chosen as they are among our primary source markets for the mega events lined up for Q4 and airlift from some, Manchester in particular, is being increased with Etihad upscaling to double daily services from the North West England hub this August.”
Over 10 luxury destination hotels and resorts are due to open throughout the emirate in Q3 and Q4 while the destination is also gearing up to for the third Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this November, celebrations this December to market the 40th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates and the highly-anticipated New Year hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet for a two-week ‘carnival style’ stopover.
“The Grand Prix and Volvo Ocean Race are delivering a substantial halo effect to the emirate which is further polished by the planned opening of major resorts operated by some of the world’s most respected brands,” added Lim.
“We have a great accommodation and attractions infrastructure now in place, keener competitiveness with a 15% fall in hotel rates in the emirate over the past 12 months and a more compelling story with which to engage.”
Latest ADTA figures underpin the destination’s heightened competitiveness. They show that average room rates in the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments fell 15% between April 2010 and April 2011 making stays in Abu Dhabi a more affordable high-end option than Sydney or Paris.
“This competitiveness will be leverage as we move towards our winter season events programme,” added Lim.
First off the grid will be the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, running November 11-13th at the stunning Yas Marina Circuit. An emirate-wide activation of the event is moving into top gear. The downtown Blue Flag Corniche beach will stage the high octane, week-long Yasalam festival of free movies, concerts and performances for the entire family. At Yas Marina Circuit, F1 ticket holders will revel in a full spectrum of support races and a wide variety of entertainment in the track’s Oases.
Three-day ticket holders will have the added benefit of a pit-lane walk on the Thursday before the race while three of the world’s top acts will perform nightly in the Yas Arena exclusively for Grand Prix ticket holders, courtesy of Flash Entertainment. Just two weeks later, Abu Dhabi will pull out all the stops for its much anticipated 40th National Day Anniversary celebrations. Aimed at UAE nationals, expats and tourists, the National Day festivities will run along five distinct themes: Father Zayed, after the UAE’s late founding President, Spirit of the Union, History, Cosmopolitan Community and Future.
Starting October 24, the events will build over 40 days and run in major locations across Abu Dhabi emirate, including Zayed Sports City, Saadiyat and Yas islands and the capital’s Corniche, as well as the emirate’s heritage city of Al Ain, recently inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Al Gharbia Western Region. For the New Year hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, ADTA is building a dedicated ‘Destination Village’ in the heart of the UAE capital.
The 55,000 sq metre development will transform a landmark stretch of breakwater overlooking the signature Corniche and be the on-the-ground activity hub until the fleet departs for Sanya, China in mid-January.
Around the size of eight football pitches, the Destination Village will be open free-of-charge to the public daily from December 30 to January 14 next year.
ADTA anticipates more than 100,000 visitors will pass through its gates. The highly interactive village, which will leverage the emirate’s long-established maritime heritage, will be packed with activities and entertainment, including exhibitions, shows, simulators, hospitality, game zones, food & beverage outlets and shops. Meanwhile, an additional 4,000 hotel rooms are due on line in Abu Dhabi most in Q3 and Q4, swelling the emirate’s room inventory by 22,800. Most are beachfront properties and all are managed by high-end operators.
These include: the Westin Hotel & Spa, Abu Dhabi Golf Club; the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara; the Hyatt Capital Gate, which borders Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC); the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island; the Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi - the luxury brand’s first foray into the Middle East; the ultra-luxurious St. Regis Saadiyat Resort and Residences, Saadiyat Island; the iconic Jumeirah at Etihad Towers on Abu Dhabi’s sweeping Corniche and the Ritz Carlton, Grand Canal Abu Dhabi, which overlooks a private marina.
“These brands will resonate well with the European market and will bring additional cross-selling marketing power to the destination,” added Lim.
Meanwhile ADTA is planning to spearhead similar road shows throughout the GCC and India, post Ramadan, to specifically target the high performing regional markets.
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