ABU DHABI, Feb 28 — Abu Dhabi’s pavilion at this year’s ITB Berlin, one of the world’s top B2B travel shows which runs in the German capital from March 5th-9th, will showcase three key destinations in one emirate and almost 70 product lines.”It’s our strongest ITB delegation to date, which keenly reflects the growth in the destination’s supplier base, experience line up and product portfolio,” explained Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director Promotions and Overseas Offices, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which is mounting the pavilion.
The pavilion this year is divided between three distinct ‘destinations within the destination’. These include Abu Dhabi City, the U.A.E. capital and its immediate surrounds, Al Ain, the emirate’s Oasis City heritage heartland and Al Gharbia, the emirate’s Western Region characterised as ‘where the desert meets the sea’.
“The visitor offering of Abu Dhabi emirate is extremely diverse and we wish to show more of the options available,” explained Al Nuaimi. “We want to encourage visitors to get out into the wider emirate to experience our heritage, captivating landscape and myriad of activities.
“We have more opportunities than ever to grow our business from Europe, particularly Germany, with airberlin planning to introduce a second daily flight between Berlin and Abu Dhabi from October 26th. Etihad Airways and airberlin have also expanded their code-share agreement to India which means that Etihad passengers from Germany will be able to book flights to six Indian destinations, via Abu Dhabi. This opens up huge new stopover opportunities for us.” Currently three airlines – airberlin, Etihad and Luftansa – fly from Dusseldorf, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich to Abu Dhabi, with a combined total of 56 flights a week.
Among this year’s Abu Dhabi pavilion are new tour operators, hotel groups and attractions.
“There’s great business to be done with our new-to-market partners and with our longer established stakeholders who are constantly revitalising and expanding their product line-up,” said Al Nuaimi.
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi’s entertainment destination which is 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport and 20 minutes from the city centre, is readying to open Yas Mall in time for November’s F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the iconic Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel says the additions to the island’s offerings will positively impact arrivals “Germany is our second biggest overseas market after the U.K. and last year Germany produced more than 5,000 room nights for us. We are planning to invest more in the German and other European markets by attending trade shows, making sales calls and staging events. We’re aiming for an increase of around 20% in room nights for the 2014/2015 season.”said Julie Audette, Director of PR and Communication, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi.
Al Ain Zoo is joining Abu Dhabi’s ITB pavilion as it gears up for the soft launch of its Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre, planned for later this year. The centre will feature interpretive displays and educational exhibits that provide an historic context of life in Abu Dhabi emirate.
“Visitors will get to know the necessary conservation practices for desert wildlife and habitat as well as sustainability practices from both an historic perspective and in modern times,” said Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, Director-General, Al Ain Zoo.
Jannah Hotels ‘&’ Resorts will use the show to unveil its new brand and the first new property to come out of it, the upcoming Al-Seef resort, which has 213 hotel apartment suites, three swimming pools, a variety of restaurants and cafes, and a sports centre next to a large shopping mall.
Nehme Darwiche, Jannah Hotels ‘&’ Resorts CEO, said, “In times when most hotels in Abu Dhabi were suffering from low occupancy rates on rooms and suites, we were able to achieve record figures in terms of occupancy, and we’ve worked hard to continue achieving this. I believe that it’s all down to the splendid job we’ve managed to do in attaining quality of our services along with the high demand on hotel apartments and suites, which is our advantage and will be our specialty in most of our upcoming hotels and resorts,” he said.
The multi-award-winning Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is launching two new products at ITB – the bespoke aspirational Romance at the Towers’ for couples and an ultimate gourmet dining package.
Romance at the Towers’ highlights private settings, gourmet delicacies and spectacular views of Abu Dhabi’s night skyline, the Corniche and Arabian Gulf. The package includes a couple’s spa treatment, a stay in a Club Suite and an exclusive beach setting for morning breakfast served by a private butler.
Also new from Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is the Epicurean Escapes bespoke package which allows guests to experience the best of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants within a single meal.
Epicurean Escapes costs AED850 (US $231) or AED1,250 (US $340) per person with all prices subject to 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee.
Danat Hotels ‘&’ Resorts, a division of Abu Dhabi’s National Corporation for Tourism ‘&’ Hotels, is planning to roll out a string of new initiatives at ITB – including new properties, new restaurants, hotel upgrades and new outlets. The group says that Germany, which delivered 15,000 room nights for Danat last year, is its key European feeder market.
The group is almost ready to open its Danat Resident Hotel Apartments and the Irish McGettigans Pub is to join the hospitality line up at its Al Raha Beach Hotel. Meanwhile, the all-day dining at the Arabesque’ restaurant at the Danat Al Ain Resort has been fully renovated while its Tilal Liwa Hotel, which nestles in the Liwa Desert, has added a new Al Dhafra Oasis’ attraction aimed at group gatherings.
The group’s Sands Hotel, one of downtown Abu Dhabi city’s most well-known landmarks, has just entered phase II of its full-scale renovation, with work due for completion by the end of the year.
Making its ITB Berlin debut is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre which manages the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi’s most visited attraction. At the show, the Centre will launch its audio guide tour which will be available in 11 languages, including German.
TCA Abu Dhabi’s destination visitor survey revealed that 64% of German visitors to the emirate like to shop, 91% ate out at F’&’B outlets, two thirds of which were in hotels, 66% took tours and visited attractions and 86% used in-emirate transport.
“Germany remains one of our largest hotel guest markets accounting for 119,590 hotel guests last year, a 30% rise on 2012,” explained Al Nuaimi. “In all, they generated 583,339 guest nights – which was up 37% year-on-year and they stay, on average, 4.87 nights.
“Germany is our third largest overseas source market after India and the U.K. and we are looking to build on the upward momentum targeting double-digit arrivals growth this year as we see the results of joint marketing activities through trade which have partnered the TCA Abu Dhabi/Etihad Airways Access Abu Dhabi trade engagement programme.” —WAM