Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority opens office in Saudi Arabia
WAM Abu Dhabi, 17th May 2012 (WAM) -- Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority has opened a fully-fledged office in Saudi Arabia to penetrate the Kingdom's, and the wider GCC's, high potential outbound market.
The office, on Jeddah's main King Abdul Aziz Road next to the Star Avenue Mall, will have dedicated trade promotion, MICE and public relations staff and will double as a visitor centre providing walk-in customers with all the information they need on destination Abu Dhabi.
The move comes as Saudi Arabia and other GCC destinations produce more hotel guests for the emirate than ever before with authority officials believing there's more potential from the region.
In the first quarter of this year some 45,823 GCC nationals, excluding Emiratis, stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartments - a 57% increase on Q1 2011. In all they notched up 101,587 guest nights - up 50% on the first quarter of 2011. Saudi Arabia produced the lion's share with some 22,107 Saudis staying in making the Kingdom Abu Dhabi's fourth largest international source market. Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartment during Q1 this year - a 69% rise on the same period last year. They accounted for 49,489 guest nights - again a 69% rise on Q1 2011.
"This market on our doorstep is extremely important to us," explained Mubarak Al Nuaimi, International Promotions Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority. "There are excellent air links between Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi with Etihad, the national airline of the UAE now flying 23 times a week from the Kingdom to Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabian Airlines operating 14 flights a week on the same route. Many others, of course, may opt to drive to Abu Dhabi and on the way can call in at the new resorts in Al Gharbia, such as the Desert Islands Resort '&' Spa on Sir Bani Yas Island which recently opened equestrian stables and which is soon to have a dedicated dive centre.
"There is much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi this year than last - and there is much more to come. Two major new resorts will open this summer and by the end of the year, Yas Island will have the UAE's largest waterpark which we are sure will be a big draw with GCC clientele." The office is headed by 32-year-old UAE National Mubarak Al Shamsi, who hails from Al Ain and has worked with the authority since 2004 in a number of roles across marketing, events and promotions. Mr Al Shamsi, now the authority's Country Manager Saudi Arabia, holds a BSC in Business Administration from the University of Colorado, Denver, USA and two Masters degrees - the first in General Manager from the LUISS Guide Carli University of Rome, the second in Quality Manager from the University of Wollangong in Dubai.
"We have identified three main priority areas with the first being to convert market demand to visitation," explained Al Shamsi. "This will initially centre around our Summer In Abu Dhabi campaign and up-coming events such as November's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. We will work closely with our Saudi Arabian partner tour operators to achieve this.
"We also intend to establish and cultivate greater channels of distribution by conducting sales calls and developing customized packages for the GCC markets, focused on both business and leisure, through a network of tour operators, travel agents and MICE partners. We will educate these partners on the destination through familiarisation trips, travel agent training workshops and regular e-newsletters.
"We will reach out to the consumer through major events and promotions to deepen their awareness of Abu Dhabi's latest product offerings." The authority's Saudi office opening comes as it spearheads its first major travel fair promotion in the Kingdom along with 12 of its key stakeholders. A special Abu Dhabi pavilion is to be mounted at the Riyadh Travel Fair, which runs from May 15-18..
"Many of these stakeholders are introducing new resorts, hotels, attractions and facilities upgrades," said Al Nuaimi.