An 11-strong Abu Dhabi tourism delegation is heading to the Saudi Arabian capital next week to take part in the Riyadh Travel Fair – the Kingdom’s largest consumer travel show which runs from April 15-18 – as the destination looks to build on increasing arrivals from the country and an uplift in air access.
The delegation – led by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) – includes hotels, resorts, the emirate’s entertainment destination of Yas Island, a destination management company and Etihad Airways, the UAE’s award-winning national airline.
In the first two months of this year some 15,502 Saudi Arabians checked into Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments, which was a 26% rise on January and February 2013. In all the Saudi Arabian arrivals delivered 35,051 guest nights which climbed 29% year-on-year with the guests staying on average just over two nights.
“Saudi Arabia is the most productive of the GCC markets for us and is now our seventh largest international source market,” explained Mubarak Al Shamisi, Country Manager, Saudi Arabia, TCA Abu Dhabi. “We believe we can build both the number of Saudi visitors and convince them to extend their length of stay. With Etihad Airways having recently launched daily flights between Al Medina and Abu Dhabi, an additional 1,904 seats a week has been added to air lift capacity to the UAE capital,” he added.
Etihad’s new Medina-Abu Dhabi route takes the number of flights a week from Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi International to 68 from four destinations: Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah and Medina. “We are well provided for in terms of air capacity through services from both Etihad and Saudi Arabian Airlines,” explained Al Shamisi.
TCA Abu Dhabi is looking to lure Saudi visitors with its value-for-money hotel rates, its ever-increasing tourism product and its packed programme of world-class events.
“In terms of value for money Abu Dhabi is now hard to beat when costs are considered against the high level of facilities and services offered,” said Al Shamisi. “Our average room rate is currently running at SR458 and visitors can expect even greater deals during the upcoming Abu Dhabi Summer Season. We have a product which has increasing appeal within the Saudi market as we are a safe destination for families, have familiarity of product given our destination’s Islamic roots, the accommodation options which suit Saudi families and the high-end attractions, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which go down well with the kids and adults. In addition, we have an emerging Halal tourism product which we are beginning to nurture,” he added.
At the show, Saudi motorsports fans are being targeted for this November’s Formula 1® Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “Tickets are on sale now and we’d urge people to move fast to take advantage of an early bird discount of up to 30% running until May 31st,”added Al Shamisi.
And Yas Island – home to Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld – is at the fair promoting its upcoming attraction, Yas Mall, which will be Abu Dhabi’s largest shopping complex and which will open in time for the Grand Prix. The mall will have 450 shops and is designed as an indoor city, it will be a glitzy neighbourhood interlocked with a series of glamourous stores. The mall’s Town Square will be Arabia’s largest shopping complex gathering space and its dining experiences will include European street-like cafes.
Around four million people visited Yas Island last year and further growth is on the horizon with the Saudi market central to this.
“We believe that Yas Island offers a unique experience close to home for the Saudi market and that visitors from the Kingdom will enjoy the hotels and attractions offered,” said Karim El Guanaini, Vice President, Yas Island Destination Management.
TCA Abu Dhabi will also be encouraging Saudi visitors to keep trips to the emirate firmly on their radar this summer as the emirate readies to launch a new-look Abu Dhabi Summer Season which the authority believes will be a haven for family retreats.
“The final touches are being put to the programme and it has a great mix of entertainment and activities for all nationalities and age groups,” said Al Shamisi.
And TCA Abu Dhabi is gearing up to launch a special ‘Traveller’s Welcome’ reception for Saudi visitors arriving to the emirate by road at the Al Ghowaifat border.
“Visitors will find a family lounge area in our visitors centre fully equipped with kid’s entertainment, refreshments, competitions and prizes,” said Al Shamisi. “They will also be able to find out about all the summer offerings in the emirate so they can get the most out of their stay,” he added.
For more information please contact:
Amena Abdulla Khoori
Marketing Communication Executive
Marketing and Communications Sector
TCA Abu Dhabi