Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry plans whistle-stop promotions drive in China
Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry will embark on a five-day, five cities roadshow of China next week as it looks to build on mounting inbound tourism from the People’s Republic.
Led by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), an eight-strong delegation of the emirate’s tourism stakeholders will join the roadshow, from May 12 – 16, including hotels, travel agents, attractions and Etihad Airways.
The roadshow, which will feature presentations and networking with trade partners throughout China, will take in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
The roadshow comes as China climbs Abu Dhabi’s hotel guest rankings. In the first quarter of this year, some 32,259 Chinese checked into the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments which was a 208% rise on Q1 of 2013. They delivered 50,253 guest nights – an increase of 139% and stayed, on average 1.58 nights. China currently ranks as the emirate’s fourth largest overseas market for hotel guests.
“Our task is to build awareness within China of the depth and range of Abu Dhabi’s tourism offering so that we both attract increasing numbers of visitors from the country while encouraging those that do come to stay longer,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director Promotions & Overseas Offices, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“We are confident of making progress as an increasing number of stakeholders are now realising the need to package bespoke product for the Chinese market and some of these will be rolled out during the roadshow.”
Farah Leisure Parks Management LLC, which operates the headline attractions of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi’s entertainment district, reports ever higher levels of Chinese visitors and is tailoring product to fit.
“We have a strong network of travel agents and partners in the Chinese market and work closely with them on an ongoing basis to identify ways and means in which we can serve the Chinese market better,” explained Bruno Wiley, Sales Director, Farah Leisure Parks Management. “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 Mandarin and Cantonese so that Chinese tourists have a better idea of what to expect during their visit.
“We are receiving a healthy amount of FIT and group business from the Chinese market, with an increasing visitor numbers during key holiday periods, such as Chinese New Year. With the upswing in Chinese 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 premier leisure destination.”
The five-star, beachfront Jumeirah at Etihad Towers has a number of specific products for the Chinese traveller and in 2013 recorded a 132% rise in the number of Chinese guests its received compared to 2012. The hotel has already unveiled a tailor-made package for Chinese New Year 2015 incorporating value-added elements including complimentary mooncakes, honey almonds, kumquats, sweets and high grade Yunnan FOP Chinese black tea in the rooms, as well as spa and shopping discounts.
“The outlook for Chinese guests for 2013 also bodes extremely well,” said Doris Grieff, General Manager. “This year’s Q1 room night figures by Chinese guests increased by a further 199% compared to 2013. We attribute the increase to the hotel creating a Chinese New Year package for the first time, which results in more than 40 Chinese groups staying with us over the festive period.
“Incentive groups are also expected to see growth throughout 2013 with a group of 6,000 Chinese guests having already spent four nights in Abu Dhabi, of which Jumeirah at Etihad Towers was part of the hosting hotels group.”
Al Ain Zoo, in Abu Dhabi’s heritage heartland, also reports an upsurge in Chinese visitors. “Twenty per cent of our visitors are now Chinese coming through tour operators and numbers are increasing every year,” said HE Ghanem Mubarak Al Hajeri, Director General. “Chinese visitors particularly like the experiences at the zoo, especially the animal feeding experiences.
“We are developing special videos to market our products to the Chinese market. These people are good spenders and we’re targeting a 10% increase in visitors from China this year.”
Al Diar Hotels, a division of Abu Dhabi National Hotels, says the market potential is so great that it’s recruited a Chinese Sales Executive to help build traffic from the People’s Republic. “Each of our properties also offers dining options of Asia and Chinese cuisine,” explained Fadi Ibrahim, Director of Sales & Marketing, Al Diar Hotels.