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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix set to crown record year in the Middle East

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix set to crown record year in the Middle East

Abu Dhabi is celebrating its success at World Travel Market (WTM) in London – one of the biggest tourism tradeshows in the world - with the 64 stakeholders on the stand conducting a record 450 meetings.

The news comes as the leading destination prepares to celebrate the highlight of its sporting calendar this weekend, with the arrival of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Etihad Airways Grand Prix.

Participants on the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) reported heightened demand for the destination during 2011 – with some revealing double-digit, year-on-year booking increases.

The newly-opened Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa at the championship-ready Abu Dhabi Golf Club reports receiving a deluge of requests during WTM for more information on packages.

“Until last year, we had to educate tour operators about the destination, but now they seem to know and understand the destination.

“ADTA has helped create a massive campaign for Abu Dhabi by partnering with WTM,” said Deeksha Trivedi, director of sales and marketing, The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa.

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority is itself celebrating at present, having been recognised as the Middle East’s Leading Tourist Board by the prestigious World Travel Awards earlier this year.

Etihad Airways is a proud sponsor of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

World Travel Market Success

The InterContinental Abu Dhabi secured an average of seven meetings each day during the four days of World Travel Market, some of which have generated new business.

“We have also used our meetings to network, nurture existing contacts and build client relationships,” explained Sayed Tayon, director of sales and Marketing.

Yas Island – which will host the Grand Prix this weekend - also attracted attention.

“This is our fifth year with ADTA at World Travel Market and we have seen amazing progress since we started exhibiting.

“We began with a master plan and now we are celebrating the reality of what we have delivered,” remarked Shamma Al Neaimi, corporate communications manager at Yas-developer Aldar.

Yas will welcome a new water park next year while Yas Mall will open for business in 2013.

Yas Viceroy will welcome the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The UK market is also taking Abu Dhabi seriously.

Leading tour operator Gold Medal is launching its first dedicated brochure on the emirate, while Trailfinders has expanded its Abu Dhabi/Dubai brochure, with many other tour operators also expanding their pages.

Bookings to Abu Dhabi are up a massive 100 per cent by specialist tour operator Destinology and up 67 per cent this year by Trailfinders.

Mubarak Al Nuaimi, international promotions manager, ADTA said the consistent stream of pavilion visitors included many keen to learn more about all the emirate’s new tourism developments and hear of its culture and heritage.

“Major events, such as the 2001 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Grand Prix and this New Year’s hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race, have been key to promoting the destination and driving awareness of Abu Dhabi,” he explained.

“The emirate’s new hotels are also offering more options and increased routes and connections by our national airline Etihad are opening up the emirate to new markets.”

Staged annually in London, WTM - the leading global event for the travel industry - is a vibrant four-day business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and international travel professionals.