Published on : Monday, December 9, 2013
Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry is set to roll out its biggest road show delegation to India this December with 25 stakeholders joining the initiative launched by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
Indian travellers now make up Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market for hotel guests with 14,540 Indians staying in the emirate’s hotels in the first nine months of this year – a 31% uplift on the same period in 2012.The delegation, comprising Etihad Airways, hotels and resorts, attractions, tour operators and destination management companies, are to press home the emirate’s case of affordable luxury and enhanced product base to India’s media and travel trade in four key cities across the country.
The road show will begin in New Delhi tomorrow December 9th, moving on to Mumbai the next day before rolling into Ahmedabad on December 11th and closing out in Bangalore on December 12th.
“This will be our first outing in Ahmedabad from where Etihad Airways now operates a daily service bringing the Gujarat market well within our reach,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director Promotions and Overseas Offices, TCA Abu Dhabi. “With enhanced air accessibility via Etihad’s network and that of its strategic partner Jet Airways, the Indian market – which is now our largest overseas source market for hotel guests – has enormous growth potential.”
Joining the delegation is inbound operator Lama Tours and Holidays which last year opened an office in Abu Dhabi city and is now producing all-inclusive packages to the emirate.
Lama says since opening its Abu Dhabi office its business to the emirate has tripled. “We hope to maintain growth between 50 to60% in our second and third year and thereafter year-on-year growth of around 25-30%,” said Kulwant Singh, Managing Director, Lama Tours and Holidays.
The Indian outbound market, according to Singh is maturing. “There are an increasing number of well-travelled, cosmopolitan Indian elite, movie personalities, business moguls and entrepreneurs. I also believe Indian travellers have very much matured over the years. There is a significant increase in demand for five-star hotels and beach properties compared to the two-three-star requirements of five years ago.”
Joining TCA Abu Dhabi’s annual Indian road show for the first time is Al Diar Hotels, a division of Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company. The group says its business from India is growing at around 25-30% a year.
Meanwhile, Danat Hotels & Resorts, which is a division of the National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels says when in India it will be promoting its renovation plans for its Sands Hotel in downtown Abu Dhabi city which is to have a new Spa. The group will also promote its Danat Residence Hotel Apartments which it expects to open in Q1 next year when it also expects to complete renovations to two restaurants at its Danat Al Ain Resort.
“We started to receive some Indian leisure guests through destination management companies in 2012 when they accounted for 1,000 room nights – this grew to 2,000 room nights this year. We now expect to enhance this performance through building relationships with DMCs that book Indian groups and FIT business,” said Group Marketing Manager, Rima Rawass. “Indians like shopping and most of our hotels are adjacent to shopping malls or provide shuttles to major malls.”
One of Abu Dhabi’s big ticket attractions – Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – on the emirate’s entertainment and leisure district of Yas Island – has reported a doubling of its Indian visitor intake over the past year.
“We believe that this will continue in the years to come,” said Bruno Wiley, Sales Director, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – the world’s largest indoor theme park with its fastest roller coaster – recently won the ‘Best Theme Park In The UAE’ award from Hospitality India during its Explore The World Annual International Awards further heightening its profile in the Indian market.
“We are introducing a new attraction – Karting Academy featuring the region’s first electric powered karts – to visitors later this year and we’re positive our Indian visitors will enjoy this new offering just as much as they’ve been enjoying the rest of the experience,” said Wiley.
Near neighbour Yas Waterworld – the aqua park named in the World Travel Awards as the Middle East’s Leading Attraction – has been specifically tailoring its services to the Indian market.
“We have introduced an Indian food menu and have hired many staff from India to look after guests from that country,” explained Mike Oswald, General Manager.
“We have a strong network of travel agents and partners in the Indian market and we work closely with them on an ongoing basis to identify ways and means in which we can serve this market better. This includes offering more convenient facilities for group travel, such as dedicated bus drop-off points for large groups and working to develop promotional collateral and ride descriptions in their languages so that Indian tourists have a better idea of what to expect during their visit.
“We are receiving a healthy amount of guests from India and particularly experiencing an increase in visitor numbers during key holiday periods. With the upswing in Indian visitor numbers to the UAE in general, we expect to welcome even more visitors as Yas Island establishes itself on individual tourist and travel agent itineraries more strongly as a pemier leisure destination.”
For the five-star, beachfront The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, Indian weddings are proving to be the icing on the cake.
“Our wedding packages designed specifically for the Indian market have proved a great success with both wedding planners and brides-and-grooms-to-be who certainly appreciate our dedicated wedding team’s experience and understanding of the requirements of this important market,” said Pep Lozano, General Manager. “With 2,182 square metres of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space and 532 rooms, suites and villas, we can accommodate large-scale destination weddings with a programme that suits all Indian wedding themes. Our wedding specialists concentrate on crafting a personalised evening concept specifically tailored for the couple by fashioning visually attractive culinary delights and collaborating with top industry leaders, such as designers, florists, entertainers and wedding planners.”
Lozano says Abu Dhabi is seeing an increase in MICE business emanating from India with an average stay of three nights in the UAE capital. “We have definitely been getting a lot of group leads as well as wedding enquiries from the Indian market,” he said. “In recent months we have contracted a few MICE groups from the Indian market coming to the city in the last quarter of 2013 as well as early 2014. Ranging from 800-1100 delegates over a few days, Indian groups tend to be fairly large with a varied programme of activities both on and off property. Another recent success that we are very excited about is the upcoming destination weddings that will see spectacular celebrations throughout the course of several days including fireworks, gala dinners in our 1,550 square metre Roma ballroom, outdoor receptions in our olive garden, wedding vows on the pristine beach and much more.”
Abu Dhabi’s profile in India is rising with the country’s most renowned celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor announcing he’s opening his Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor restaurant in the UAE capital’s Nation Towers early next year.
On a recent visit to the annual F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Chef Kapoor said he hopes to have the fine dining outlet open in time for February’s Gourmet Abu Dhabi festival.
“The restaurant will serve the authentic Indian and signature dishes now associated with Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor and we expect it to attract both tourists and residents,” said Chef Kapoor.
“We have seen growing numbers of Abu Dhabi residents travelling to Dubai to dine at our restaurant there, so we decided the market in the UAE capital was promising. This trend, complemented by the vibrant Abu Dhabi dining scene and the increasing number of Indians now visiting the city prompted the decision to open here.”
Source:- Abu Dhabi Tourism
Tags: Tourism News