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Abu Dhabi looks for 2013 Indian inroads
2012-12-26 23:42:08
Abu Dhabi, 26 Dec. 2012 (WAM) - Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is to begin 2013 with a five-city road show taking in key cities in India as it looks to build inbound tourism from the Republic, which is now the emirate's second largest international hotel guest source market.

The authority, together with its trade partner Lama Tours, will lead a 12-strong industry delegation representing its attractions, hotels and airline sectors in a five-day whistle-stop promotion taking in New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai from 7-11 January.

"This is the first time we have included Ahmedabad and this is to leverage the recent launch, by Etihad Airways, of a daily flight from this largest Gujarat city to Abu Dhabi," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, International Promotions Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.

Weddings and MICE business is high on the delegation's agenda. One member - the five-star The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, which was recently named the �Ultimate Beach Destination' by leading European online agent E-Bookers, already has a large Indian wedding booked for next month.

The luxury, multi-award-winning Jumeirah at Etihad Towers meanwhile has Indian MICE business firmly in its sights. "We are focusing in 2013 on the Indian business and MICE segments, and to some degree leisure, because Indian visitors are proving to be people who appreciate luxury hospitality and gourmet experiences," said Doris Greif, General Manager, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

"The Indian market is important to our overall client mix, especially given its relative proximity and propensity to travel. It is hoped that not only will our general business and leisure client base further expand, but that opportunities for MICE travel and events that utilize our luxury and state-of-the-art conference centre will also increase." Abu Dhabi's stunning Yas Marina Circuit - home to the annual F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - is hitting the road with the TCA Abu Dhabi's Promotion Department looking to push its ability to host large-scale events and banquets, conferences and exhibitions.

"In many ways this is a fact-finding visit for us. When we know more about the market we will be happy to look into tailoring products specifically for Indian clientele. We have had relatively small incentive bookings from India using our premium retail products, such as the Aston Martin experiences so far. The Indian market is definitely attracted by luxury products and bespoke events. We work with DMCs on this kind of business and would like to see corporate events from India being hosted in Yas Marina Circuit," said Tariq Zuroub, Communications Executive, Yas Marina Circuit.

"India is a developing neighbour, a strong emerging market on our doorstep. It has volume business because of its sheer size with no language barrier." Other road show partners are: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace, Hyatt Capital Gate, the soon-to-open Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Rotana, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort '&' Spa, the Anantara group which operates three properties in Abu Dhabi including the newly-opened Eastern Mangroves Hotel '&' Spa and Etihad, which now flies from nine Indian destinations to Abu Dhabi International Airport.

"Improving air access is key to the Indian market and now with Abu Dhabi receiving 124 flights a week from the country, we have capacity to leverage," said Al Nuaimi. "We also have major events which will appeal to the Indian market most notably January's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and February's Gourmet Abu Dhabi culinary festival.

"So far we have taken the pulse of the Indian market by taking part in exhibitions and road shows - now we are upping the stakes with a plan for full-time, on-the-ground representation and increasing in-country promotions, which will include being present at India's main travel fair, SATTE, next month," added Al Nuaimi.

From January to the end of November this year some 125,180 Indian guests stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartments - a 30% increase on the first 11 months of last year - and they accounted for 496,581 guest nights, which is a 34% rise on the 2011 comparative period. Indian guests are staying in Abu Dhabi's hotels for an average of 3.97 nights.

WAM/MAB
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