World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit 2013
Abu Dhabi to host WTTC Global Summit 2013
More than 1,000 leading players in global travel and tourism will descend on Abu Dhabi next year.
The news comes after the city was granted the hosting rights to stage the biggest and most prestigious event in the industry calendar - and with it a huge chance to showcase what the emirate has to offer.
In a ceremony in Tokyo yesterday to mark the end of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit 2012, a symbolic globe was handed over marking Abu Dhabi's selection as host to next year's summit in April.
James Hogan, the chief executive of Etihad Airways, accepted the globe on behalf of the capital, marking the culmination of an intense campaign to secure what is regarded as the most influential travel and tourism event of the year.
"WTTC's decision was based on Abu Dhabi's compelling presentation, the enthusiasm of government and industry agencies, accessibility of the destination, a high standard of capability and evidence of green tourism growth as a key development strategy", said David Scowsill, the chief executive of the WTTC, who handed the globe to Mr Hogan. "With its distinctive Arabian hospitality and world-class infrastructure, Abu Dhabi will be an enchanting destination for our top-level delegates."
The WTTC has for the past 20 years been the industry's voice on the economic and social contribution of travel, with a membership drawn from the chairmen, presidents and chief executives of the world's leading private sector travel and tourism businesses.
It sees its role as "raising awareness of the importance of the industry as an economic generator of prosperity, promoting sustainable growth, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity."
The summit will welcome more than 1,000 invited WTTC delegates to Abu Dhabi.
"This is an extremely prestigious win," said Guarav Sinha, the managing director of the branding consultancy Insignia, "and is a defining opportunity to showcase how the UAE is maturing as a premier destination.
"It's also a phenomenal tribute to the power of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority's promotion campaign. The value of the exposure it will give Abu Dhabi to the people at the top of travel industry is incalculable," he said.
"We will look upon those attending next year's summit as partners, whether existing, or potential, and I know this is how our local industry is viewing the event," said Mubarak Al Muhairi, the director general of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
"It is a platform for us to come together, to engage with each other and strike up new ventures, initiatives and relationships," he said.
"Recent years have seen Abu Dhabi's emergence as a dynamic, contemporary city and global economic powerhouse," said Mr. Hogan.
"Etihad Airways has been central to the success of the UAE Government's strategy to build travel and tourism into a major driver of economic development, bringing business and leisure tourists in their millions to the UAE capital. The success of this approach is a strong endorsement of WTTC policy.
"Today, Abu Dhabi is an exciting place to be and I have no doubt WTTC delegates will enjoy the city's hospitality and be amazed at its energy when they attend the summit in 2013."
Tourism in the UAE attracted capital investment of Dh76.5bn (US$20.82bn) last year and that figure is expected to rise over the next 10 years to Dh137.9bn a year taking travel and tourism's share of total national investment to 25.7 per cent by 2022, according to WTTC figures.
This year the Emirates is expected to welcome 11,234,000 international tourists, with that figure forecast to rise to 18,821,000 by 2022, generating expenditure of Dh167.1bn.