Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry is heading to Japan and Korea this month for road shows aimed at putting the emirate’s expanding destination offering further up the Far Eastern outbound travel trade agenda.
Led by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), an 11-strong delegation – a mix of transport, hotel and resort operators, MICE facilities and destination management companies – will be touting an expanded tourism proposition which is being increasingly tailored to the high-yield Far Eastern visitor.
With ever stronger commercial and trade links between Abu Dhabi and both Japan and Korea, the emirate’s tourism sector is looking to turn business relationships to their advantage.
“Travellers from both countries now have good air access to the emirate with Etihad Airways operating 12 flights a week from Japan and seven from Korea to Abu Dhabi International Airport,” explained Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director Promotions & Overseas Offices, TCA Abu Dhabi.
The dual country push comes as Abu Dhabi receives more Japanese and Korean hotel guests than ever before. In the first four months of this year, 4,450 Japanese checked into the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments – a jump of 10% on the same period last year. They delivered 17,842 guest nights – which is up 5% year-to-date and translates into an average-length-of-stay of just over four nights. Growth from South Korea was also encouraging.
Some 5,059 Koreans stayed in the emirate’s accommodation from January to April this year – a 35% leap on the same period in 2012. They delivered 13,319 guest nights – a climb of 72% year-to-date and translated into average-length-of-stay of 2.63 nights – which is a 28% expansion.
Most delegation members accept tailored product will be needed to convert the lucrative, and highly sought-after, Japanese and Korean visitors – both for the independent leisure traveller and group business.
Stop-over as well as point-to-point business is firmly in the delegation’s sights. Destination Management Company Arabian Adventures has already started its segment tailoring. “We currently operate a Japanese language Abu Dhabi city tour three days a week and from October 1 this year we will increase this to five a week,” explained Leila Dias, Business Development Manager.
“We have also negotiated specific requirements with some hotels to provide 24 hour check-in, check-out facilities thereby reducing the cost of packages for transit passengers.” Japan and Korea delivered approximately 15,500 UAE room nights for Arabian Adventures over the past year and the DMC plans to spur this with additional specialised product. “We plan to introduce more tours with Japanese language guides in the coming season,” added Dias.