1.9 million hotel guests targeted for ‘Year Of Inspiration’

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% to the emirate’s overall non-oil GDP.


The targets will mean a 15% rise on the 2010 hotel guest target, an increase of more than 5,000 hotels rooms and a 0.4% 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 Abu Dhabi is mounting its largest ever WTM stand with over 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% on the previous year to 1.3 million, ADTA’s Director General, HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, 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. 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,” said Al Muhairi.

ADTA’s Director General said in 2011, Abu Dhabi hoped 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.” The Director General said Abu Dhabi would also, in 2011, reap the benefits of entry into new territories with the imminent opening of ADTA offices in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

“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 our increasingly dynamic international media hosting programme, along with the roll-out of phase two of our global advertising campaign,” he explained.

“In addition, we will participate in 18 international trade fairs during 2011, with first-time participation in shows in Russia, Korea and the USA. These new shows have been selected to emphasise 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 in December.”

The Director General also highlighted two destination-building milestones which would enhance 2011 prospects – the home porting of MSC Cruises’ luxury MSC Lirica from October next year and of the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race fleet on its third leg stop-over. The partnership with MSC Cruises will see the Italian cruise operator run 19 Arabian Gulf itineraries from Abu Dhabi.

“This brings us the potential of an additional 40,000 passenger arrivals for the 2011/2012 season. This provides a great opportunity to translate these arrivals into return visitors - industry trends show that currently, 30% of cruise passengers return later to the home port destination having once had a taste of it,” Al Muhairi explained. The Director General also said the build-up to the January 1, 2012 hosting of the third leg stop-over of the Volvo Ocean Race would also deliver significant destination benefits, with Abu Dhabi readying to host 35,000 international visitors delivering 45,000 room nights.

“The prognosis is good,” said Al Muhairi.

"Market dynamics are making Abu Dhabi more competitive than at any time in its recent history, although we also acknowledge the need for balance between operational performance and consumer value. Our strategies, developed with industry partners to maximise the opportunities presented, will help ensure a positive 2011.”

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