Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) will spearhead the emirate’s largest road show through three Saudi Arabian cities as it eyes increased visitor numbers from the Kingdom — the emirate’s fifth largest international source market.
Encompassing stops in Jeddah (August 26), Riyadh (August 27) and Dammam (August 28), the road show delegation comprises more than 20 of Abu Dhabi’s leading tourism sector stakeholders — including airlines, hotels, attractions, tour operators and Destination Management Companies — who will highlight the emirate’s multi-faceted, and expanding, leisure-business-culture proposition to Saudi’s major outbound travel trade players.
“This is a physical illustration of the growing strategic importance of the vital Saudi source market to Abu Dhabi’s immediate and long-term tourism objectives,” said Mubarak Al Shamisi, Saudi Arabia Country Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.
Recent TCA Abu Dhabi figures show overall hotel guest arrivals last June 2012 increased year-on-year by 17 per cent, with 6,661 Saudi Arabian guests accrued across Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments — a 57 per centjump on the same month last year.
Furthermore, some 36,430 Saudi Arabian hotel guests stayed in Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments during the first sixth months of this year - a 36 per cent rise on the equivalent half-year in 2011.
“Geographic proximity is one of Abu Dhabi’s many selling points to Saudi tourists,” added Al Shamisi. “As well as sharing borders, our two peoples are united in various aspects of our cultures. Abu Dhabi has become a home-away-from-home for thousands of Saudis eyeing short leisure breaks, cultural excursions and business trips in a familiar and nearby environment.”
With large numbers of Saudi nationals traditionally travelling to Abu Dhabi by land, improved air links from numerous Saudi gateways to Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) have increased travel options. Among the road show stakeholders, Etihad Airways, the UAE’s award-winning national carrier, operates 42 weekly services between AUH and three Saudi cities, including 13 flights to both Riyadh and Jeddah and 16 services to Dammam. Additionally, Saudi Airlines operates daily services to AUH from both Jeddah and Riyadh, while NAS Air operates a daily flight from Jeddah.
“Connectivity between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia is better - and more affordable - than ever,” added Al Shamisi.
In each road show stop, TCA Abu Dhabi will update trade representatives on recent additions to the emirate’s tourism proposition via a tailored presentation encompassing briefs on new hotels and resorts across the emirate, upcoming attractions, such as the Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, a mammoth aqua park opening on Abu Dhabi’s entertainment district, Yas Island, in December, as well as an overview of several of Abu Dhabi’s headline events, including Abu Dhabi International Hunting & Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX, September 5-8), the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (November 2-4), Abu Dhabi Art (November 7-10) and Al Ain Aerobatics Show (November 30 - December 1). Stakeholders will then pitch products and services to invited guests in dedicated networking sessions.