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Gourmet Abu Dhabi 2011 gets off to a tasty start

Gourmet Abu Dhabi 2011 gets off to a tasty start

HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority led a host of VIPs to mark the opening of Gourmet Abu Dhabi 2011 – the annual 16-day culinary festival which has put Abu Dhabi on the international gourmet map.

The gala opening took place at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, and featured a stellar line-up of masterchefs, including James Martin.

The British chef and star of “Ready, Steady, Cook” said he was really impressed with the UAE capital and was looking forward to making a pit stop at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi after his one-night-only dinner at the Crowne Plaza Yas Island.

(ADTA’s Dayne Lim with celebrity chef James Martin and master chef Atul Kochar Lady Elizabeth Anton)

Sheikh Sultan and guests then toured a host of beautifully designed food stalls where the host restaurants laid out samples of their best fare.

This year’s festival, which runs until February 17, features 57 events across 29 restaurants in 14 of the emirate’s leading hotels with a cast of 17 international masterchefs with 22 Michelin stars and three Chef’s Hats between them. Around 8,000 guests are expected to attend.

(Executive Chef Darren Andow of Yas Island Rotana briefs Sheikh Sultan on some of his gourmet creations

Gourmet Abu Dhabi 2011 is just one of a host of top events being held by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority this year.

ADTA has wide ranging responsibilities for managing and assisting the development of the emirate’s tourism industry and the marketing and promotion of the emirate as a world-class destination of distinction.

(Hans Olbertz of Emirates Palace, Ian and Jan Fairservice of Motivate Publishing and Roya International’s Ahmed Ramdan)

A key role is to create synergy in the international promotion of Abu Dhabi through close co-ordination with the emirate’s hotels, destination management companies, airlines and other public and private sector travel-related organisations.

(Wonho Chung and ADTA’s Noura Al Dhaheri welcome guests)

The work of ADTA was recognized at 2010 World Travel Awards Grand Final in London when it was voted “World’s Leading Tourist Board”.

This follows a clean sweep at the WTA Middle East Ceremony in May when it was voted “Middle East’s Leading Business Destination”, “Middle East’s Leading Destination”, “Middle East’s Leading Destination Marketing Campaign”, “Middle East’s Leading Marina” and “Middle East’s Leading Tourist Board”.

(Abu Dhabi is rapidly becoming a gourmet capital)

ADTA’s 2011 tourism agenda is currently aimed at delivering 1.9 million guests staying in around 22,000 hotel rooms and contributing 11.1 percent to the emirate’s overall non-oil GDP.

HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA, said that given the stellar 2010 performance, there could be a case for revising 2011 targets upwards.

“This is certainly something we will be considering over the coming weeks, in close collaboration, as always, with our valued stakeholders. We should consider raising the bar as we aspire to greater things and look to inspire all players within the destination’s development.

(Setting the stall out)

“We have several highlights to look forward to, not least the end-of-year hosting of the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race when the city will be activated to welcome visitors to a New Year’s celebration like no other. We are also gearing up for the arrival, this October, of the luxury liner MSC Lirica which will home port in Abu Dhabi during its 19 Gulf sailings from the UAE capital,” he added.

(Lady Elizabeth Anton (left) with John Cordeaux, Executive Chef, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and Harriet Webber)
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