Infrastructure legacy boosts emirate’s offering

Yas Hotel

Abu Dhabi’s inaugural Grand Prix brought an upsurge of interest in the UAE destination at some of the world’s major travel shows.

Lawrence Franklin, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority’s (ADTA) director of policy and strategy, said: “In terms of destination awareness the Grand Prix was an outstanding success. Abu Dhabi’s participation in the World Travel Market and EIBTM in Barcelona revealed an upsurge in interest in the destination with many citing the Formula One as having created a greater number of business enquiries among their clientele.”

Since the race, the authority has also received a flurry of enquiries from journalists around the world wanting more information on the emirate.

Franklin added that although it is impossible to say how many tourists visited, as many came for the day from other emirates and others stayed with friends, the city’s quota of some 16,000-plus rooms was full and the track was sold-out.

“ADTA used the powers given to it by the executive council to implement a hotel-rate ceiling during the period and, since the event, members of the tourism sector have been actively promoting their products and services worldwide to leverage the increased awareness of the destination engendered by the Formula One.”

In hosting the big race Abu Dhabi undertook several major development schemes to accommodate both the influx of visitors and the increases in traffic.

According to Franklin the legacy of infrastructure spurred-on by the arrival of Formula One has greatly increased the strength of Abu Dhabi as a tourist destination with the addition of the unique motorsport venue, corporate facilities, seven additional hotels on Yas Island alone and major new road infrastructure.

He added that it is to early to announce plans for this year’s event but vowed an even better visitor experience in 2010.