Abu Dhabi’s pavilion at this year’s ITB Berlin – one of the world’s top B2B travel shows which runs in the German capital from March 5-9 – will showcase three key destinations in one emirate and almost 70 product lines.
“It’s our strongest ITB delegation to date which keenly reflects the growth in the destination’s supplier base, experience line up and product portfolio,” explained Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director Promotions & Overseas Offices, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which is mounting the pavilion.
The pavilion this year is divided between three distinction ‘destinations within the destination.’ These include Abu Dhabi city – the United Arab Emirates’ capital and its immediate surrounds; Al Ain – the emirate’s Oasis City heritage heartland and Al Gharbia – the emirate’s Western Region characterised as where the desert meets the sea.
“The visitor offering of Abu Dhabi emirate is extremely diverse and we wish to show more of the options available,” explained Al Nuaimi. “We want to encourage visitors to get out into the wider emirate to experience our heritage, captivating landscape and myriad of activities.
“We have more opportunities than ever to grow our business from Europe, particularly Germany, with airberlin planning to introduce a second daily flight between Berlin and Abu Dhabi from October 26th increasing route capacity by 2,093 seats. Etihad Airways and airberlin have also expanded their codeshare agreement to India which means that Etihad passengers from Germany will be able to book flights to six Indian destinations, via Abu Dhabi. This opens up huge new stopover opportunities for us.”
Currently three airlines – airberlin, Etihad and Luftansa – fly from four German destinations, namely Dusseldorf, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, to Abu Dhabi with a combined total of 56 flights a week.
Among this year’s Abu Dhabi pavilion are new tour operators, hotel groups and attractions.
“There’s great business to be done with our new-to-market partners and with our longer established stakeholders who are constantly revitalising and expanding their product line-up,” said Al Nuaimi.
Yas Island – Abu Dhabi’s entertainment destination which is just 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport and 20 minutes from the city centre – is readying to open its Yas Mall in time for this November’s F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the iconic Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi hotel says the additional to the island’s offering will positively impact arrivals
“This mall will be the largest in Abu Dhabi and it’s only five minutes from our hotel,” said Julie Audette, Director of PR and Communication, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. “Germany is our second biggest overseas market after the UK and last year Germany produced more than 5,000 room nights for us. We are planning to invest more in the German and other European markets by attending trade shows, making sales calls and staging events. We’re aiming for an increase of around 20% in room nights for the 2014/2015 season.”
Al Ain Zoo, which last year welcomed 969,872 visitors, is joining Abu Dhabi’s ITB pavilion as it gears up for the soft launch of its Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre, planned for later this year. The centre will feature interpretive displays and educational exhibits that provide an historic context of life in Abu Dhabi emirate.
“Visitors will get to know the necessary conservation practices for desert wildlife and habitat as well as sustainability practices from both an historic perspective and in modern times,” said HE Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, Director General, Al Ain Zoo.
Jannah Hotels & Resorts will use the show to unveil its new brand and the first new property to come out of it - the upcoming Al-Seef resort which has 213 hotel apartment suites, three swimming pools, a variety of restaurants and cafes with prestigious names in the world of hospitality, as well as a sports centre next to a large shopping mall.
Nehme Darwiche, Jannah Hotels & Resorts CEO, said: “Our hotel apartments are recognised for their spacious size, the presence of a kitchen, other facilities and reasonable prices.”
Darwiche says demand for hotel apartments is growing continuously from individuals, families, businessmen, companies and institutions.
“In times when most hotels in Abu Dhabi were suffering from low occupancy rates on rooms and suites, we were able to achieve record figures in terms of occupancy, and we’ve worked hard to continue achieving this. I believe that it’s all down to the splendid job we’ve managed to do in attaining quality of our services along with the high demand on hotel apartments and suites, which is our advantage and will be our specialty in most of our upcoming hotels and resorts,” he said.
The multi-award-winning Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is launching two new products at ITB – the bespoke aspirational ‘Romance at the Towers’ for couples and an ultimate gourmet dining package.
‘Romance at the Towers’ highlights private settings, gourmet delicacies and spectacular views of Abu Dhabi’s night skyline, the Corniche and Arabian Gulf. The package includes an evening full of romantic magic and theatre, a special Scott’s Terrace dinner and accommodation, exclusively for a couple, with a six course set menu paired with the finest vintages on its Scott’s Terrace, which will be adorned with special flower settings with a harpist or violinist to entertain the couple. The package includes a couple’s spa treatment, a stay in a Club Suite and an exclusive beach setting for morning breakfast served by a private butler. The Scott’s Terrace ‘Romance at the Towers’ package costs AED30,000, (US $8,167) plus 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee.
Also new from Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is the Epicurean Escapes bespoke package which allows guests to experience the best of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants within a single meal.
The evening begins with aperitifs on Scott’s Terrace above the Arabian Gulf and continues with dining experiences at its Li Beirut, Tori No Su and Brasserie Angelique restaurants taking in the cuisine of the Levant, Japan and France respectively, before heading to the inspirational fine dining restaurant ‘Quest’ for dessert. The evening rounds off at the popular Ray’s Bar for digestifs. Epicurean Escapes costs AED850 (US $231) per person or AED1,250 (US $340) per person with all prices subject to 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee.
Meanwhile, Danat Hotels & Resorts, a division of Abu Dhabi’s National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels is planning to roll out a string of new initiatives at ITB – including new properties, new restaurants, hotel upgrades and new outlets. The group says Germany, which delivered 15,000 room nights for Danat last year, is its key European feeder market.
The group is readying to open its Danat Resident Hotel Apartments and the Irish McGettigans Pub is to join the hospitality line up at its Al Raha Beach Hotel. Meanwhile, the all-day dining ‘The Arabesque’ restaurant at the Danat Al Ain Resort has been fully renovated while its Tilal Liwa Hotel, which nestles in the Liwa Desert has added a new ‘Al Dhafra Oasis’ attraction aimed at group gatherings.
The group’s Sands Hotel, one of downtown Abu Dhabi city’s most well-known landmarks, has just entered phase II of its full-scale renovation.
All guest rooms are now being renovated at the 4-star hotel with work due for completion by the end of the year.
The hotel’s first renovation phase, completed last year saw an overhaul of all public areas, lobby, elevators, the all-day dining restaurant La Piazza and the Harvesters Pub, followed by Chequers bar and restaurant, in addition to its Night Core Tipar bar.
“The renovations are on-track and include the installation of the latest technology. The room layouts are contemporary to produce elegant, comfortable guest rooms and deliver a fresh, upgraded feel. We’ve worked hard not to lose the identity which our loyal customers have come to regard as home,” said Khaled Khedr, the hotel’s Director of Sales & Marketing.
Danat Hotels & Resorts vision for Sands Hotel is to be a modern 4-star hotel that offers 5-star services and facilities at convenient prices.
Making its ITB Berlin debut is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center – which manages the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is Abu Dhabi’s most visited attraction. At the show, the Center will launch its audio guide tour which will be available in 11 languages, including German.
TCA Abu Dhabi’s destination visitor survey revealed that 64% of German visitors to the emirate like to shop, 91% ate out at f&b outlets, two thirds of which were in hotels, 66% took tours and visited attractions and 86% used in-emirate transport.
“Germany remains one of our largest hotel guest markets accounting for 119,590 hotel guests last year – a 30% rise on 2012,” explained Al Nuaimi. “In all they generated 583,339 guest nights – which was up 37% year-on-year and they stay, on average 4.87 nights.
“Germany is our third largest overseas source market after India and the UK and we are looking to build on the upward momentum targeting double-digit arrivals growth this year as we see the results of joint marketing activities through trade which have partnered the TCA Abu Dhabi/Etihad Airways Access Abu Dhabi trade engagement programme.”
Visitors at the Abu Dhabi pavilion will be able to enter an ipad application quiz for a trip to the emirate.