Abu Dhabi will highlight its credentials as a tourist destination when a delegation led by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) embarks on a four-day roadshow to four European countries, starting March 14.
In a bid to build on impressive numbers of inbound tourists from the continent, the delegation will visit Milan, Italy on March 14 followed by Paris, France the next day and then Manchester, UK and finishing in Amsterdam, Holland.
Joining TCA Abu Dhabi will be UAE national airline Etihad Airways, Al Burj Travel, Big Bus Tours, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Jannah Hotels and Resorts, and Al Mafraq Hotel.
Mubarak Al Nuaimi, director promotions and overseas offices, TCA Abu Dhabi, said: “Europe is a vital market for us and these four countries alone delivered almost 400,000 guest arrivals in 2015 out of a total of 4.1 million who visited the emirate. Both the UK and Italy delivered double digit growth – Italy saw a rise of 26% and the UK saw a 14% rise year-on-year. France and Holland also both showed impressive increases.
“Along with our national airline and key stakeholders we will try to increase awareness of Abu Dhabi and its fantastic array of attractions across such a diverse destination, meeting with key industry partners and travel representatives. We have excellent connectivity from Europe through Etihad Airways and their partner airlines which already offers 35 flights a week from Italy into Abu Dhabi. The airline also offers double daily flights from Amsterdam with its codeshare partner KLM, 14 flights a week from Paris and three a day from Heathrow, London.”
The UK is Abu Dhabi’s second largest international source market, delivering 232,337 guest arrivals last year, a rise of 14 per cent on 2014, spending 958,022 guest nights – a rise of 9 per cent on the previous year. Italy was the 11th largest overseas source market with 70,298 guest arrivals, France 14th with 59,831 guest arrivals and Holland providing 23,489 guest arrivals to come in 24th place. As well as focusing on our established European markets, we are looking to win market share from the Dutch outbound travel market.”
A priority for these markets is to inspire further growth and extend the length of stay of visitors.
Located on the prestigious Saadiyat Island just 15 minutes from the city centre, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas is an exclusive sanctuary of contemporary luxury, with a 9 km stretch of environmentally protected beach, adjacent to the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.
Eugene Feklistov, director of sales and marketing at the hotel, said: “Germany and the UK has always been our strength in regards to the market share. However we are looking to further develop our relationship with luxury travel agents in Italy, Spain and France. We had steady growth from Germany and Europe in general in 2015 compared to the preceding 12 months and we expect higher achievement this year. We expect our guests travelling to Abu Dhabi to experience Arabic culture and atmosphere, but also at the same time our property will be their home away from home.”
UAE-owned company Jannah Hotel and Resorts, also joining the trade mission, says Europe will be its most important market for the next five years and the company will be marketing their BedoInn project set to launch in 2018.
Nehme Darwiche, chief executive officer of Jannah Hotels and Resorts, said: “BedoInn is a combination of Jannah Hotels & Resorts’ focus on modern Bedouin hospitality, while providing a modern and accessible traveller experience. The budget travel brand will be aimed at millennial travellers, aged 25 years and under. The new hotel brand will also do away with traditional room categories, offering instead ‘pods’ designed to cater for fitness (with a treadmill in the room), or to cater for gaming enthusiasts (with computer equipment in the room).”
Al Burj Travel & Tours, a destination management company focused on journeying around the emirate, will be looking to capitalise on their seven nights culture and heritage package ‘Abu Dhabi: A Great Journey’ as 40 per cent of the company’s total revenue is currently generated by the European market. The company will also be introducing to Europe the ‘Abu Dhabi as a Golfer’s Gateway’ package looking to lure keen golfers to the emirate’s six premium courses.
Rayna Tours, a destination management company with offices across the Emirates specialising in yachts, luxury limousines, desert camps and dhow cruises, will be highlighting their special summer promotion for a three-night-stay in Abu Dhabi at a four-star hotel for €278 ($309.8) per person.
Deepak Hiranandani, director of sales, said: “This is just the initial special summer promotion, we are planning to sign up some more special deals with a few hotels and release more packages. Looking at the potential of the European market, one of our key plans for 2016 is to have a physical presence in Europe with an office at one of the major European locations.”
Miral, the destination management company, responsible for the promotion of Yas Island’s hotels and attactions, will also be in attendance at the TCA pavilions in Europe.
The TCA Abu Dhabi roadshow is the latest of a number of initiatives targeting the European travel industry that continue throughout the year.
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