A seven-city European road show led by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) looks certain to bring dividends to the emirate as travel trade representatives throughout Russia, Germany, France, Italy, the UK and Ireland begin to buy-in to the destination’s dynamic Q4 plans.
The road show, which also featured representatives from Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and its Hala Abu Dhabi destination management arm, as well as Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, which manages the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in total pulled in an audience of over 400 tour operators and media.
All heard about the emirate’s packed Q4 major events programme and of the 10 new luxury hotels and resorts which will open in the destination by the end of the year.
In Russia, where ADTA launched a major marketing push this year with on-the-ground full time representation, the presentations ignited immediate interest.
“This event gave us the necessary information on how to promote team building possibilities on Yas Island,” said Kira Dmitrieva, Head of Department of South Cross, one of Russia’s leading outbound travel agents. “I feel sure our corporate clients will be passionate about the idea of team building using the Formula 1 circuit.”
Having learnt about Abu Dhabi’s plans for the third F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this November, the UAE national day celebrations in December and the year-end hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet in a dedicated destination village, attendees were given a snapshot of the new resorts planned. These include: the Westin Hotel & Spa, Abu Dhabi Golf Club; the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara; the Hyatt Capital Gate, which borders Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre; the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island; the Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi – the brand’s first foray into the Middle East; the ultra-luxurious St. Regis Saadiyat Resort & Residences, Saadiyat Island; the iconic Jumeirah at Etihad Towers on Abu Dhabi’s sweeping Corniche and the Ritz Carlton, Grand Canal Abu Dhabi, which overlooks a private marina.
“For me the most important part of the presentation was the introduction to the new hotel projects as it showed how important Abu Dhabi is becoming for the luxury travel segment,” said Arlett Walleck, Senior Product Manager, Thomas Cook Selection, Germany.
For others, Abu Dhabi’s increasingly major sporting links is providing the marketing impetus.
“The presentation was great for selling the destination to sports enthusiasts,” said Harriet Turner, Supply & Sales Executive of the UK’s Lastminute.com. “I wasn’t actually aware of the amount of sporting opportunities available for visitors, especially with the hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race this year. We have loads of clients looking on our site for information about sporting events, so in that respect, the presentation was very useful to me.”
While in Manchester, the destination appears to be scoring through ADTA’s relationship with Manchester City Football Club.
“Interest in Abu Dhabi is booming since it became the Official Destination Partner of Manchester City,” said Karen Allen, Travel Agent, Aspen Travel, which specializes in business travel. I personally went there on the first flight with Etihad from Manchester and love it. It’s accessible, affordable and authentic – definitely one to impress the neighbours with.”
And England’s North West is increasing in potential for the destination with Etihad planning to upscale its services from Manchester from 10 flights a week to a double-daily service from August.
“Abu Dhabi is well priced with great hotels and is definitely an up-and-coming destination for our customers,” said Faye McFadden, Travel Agent, of independent travel agency CBT International.
ADTA is now planning to spearhead similar road shows throughout the GCC and India, post Ramadan, to specifically target the high performing regional markets.