Abu Dhabi lays out 2011 tourism agenda

ABU DHABI Tourism Authority (ADTA) has laid out its 2011 tourism agenda which is aimed at delivering 1.9 million hotel guests staying in around  22,000 hotel rooms  and contributing 11.1 per cent to the emirate’s overall non-oil GDP.

The targets will mean a 15 per cent rise on the 2010 hotel guest target, an increase of more than 5,000 hotel rooms and a 0.4 per cent increase in overall non-oil GDP contribution.

The targets were outlined at an ADTA travel trade and media gathering in London held to coincide with World Travel Market (WTM), where the emirate mounted its largest ever WTM stand with more than 60 stakeholders.

And, in a rallying call to the international travel trade to partner the destination, which in the first nine months of this year saw hotel guest arrivals jump 16 per cent on 2009 to 1.3 million, ADTA’s director general urged the industry to ‘inspire for tomorrow’.

“Abu Dhabi’s tourism ambitions are now six years old and I am pleased to report that the youngster is growing stronger by the day,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi.

“We are on course to achieving our aspirations but cannot go forward without solid stakeholder support. Through our ‘Horizons Abu Dhabi’ product development incentive scheme we can ‘Inspire For Tomorrow’ and much can be achieved together.”

The director general said in 2011, Abu Dhabi hopes to shift its current business-tourism dominated hotel guest profile to a more balanced business/leisure tourism split.

“We are confident we can achieve this because our leisure proposition has and will continue to grow,” he said. “We have taken a major leap forward on the leisure scene with the recent opening of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – the world’s biggest indoor theme park. More intense focus on the leisure segment is in line with our strategy of increasing overall length of stay.”

He added that Abu Dhabi will also, in 2011, reap the benefits of entry into new territories with the imminent opening of ADTA offices in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US.

“We are looking for a wider geographic footprint, diversifying to complement our traditional Euro-centric markets with emerging source markets, in line with evolving industry dynamics,” said Al Muhairi.

“Promotional activities being carried out in these new markets will be ably supported by the work of our existing six overseas offices and supported by our increasingly dynamic international media-hosting programme and the roll out of phase two of our global advertising campaign.

“In addition, we will participate in 18 international trade fairs during 2011 with first-time participation in shows in Russia, Korea and the US.

“These new shows have been selected to emphasis our push into the Russian and American markets and to leverage and support the new Etihad service from Seoul to Abu Dhabi International which will begin this month.”

The director general also highlighted two destination-building milestones which will enhance 2011 prospects – the home porting of MSC Cruises’ luxury MSC Lirica from October next year and the hosting of the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race fleet on its third leg stop-over.