Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director, Promotions and Overseas Offices, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) talks about India’s potential as a MICE source market for the UAE capital and the future roadmap. By Steena Joy
How do you see the potential of the India market?
Abu Dhabi is expected to see a surge in inbound business and leisure tourism from India following our hosting of the 63rd convention of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) recently. The feedback from the event has been nothing short of exceptional and many of our stakeholders believe this is the start of a relationship which can only go from strength-to-strength with follow-up
meetings on business prospects already in the pipeline.
India is currently Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market with 152,423 Indians checking into the emirate’s hotels in the first half of this year – a 20 per cent year-over-year uplift and accounting for 7 per cent of all the emirate’s hotel guest stays. Indian guests currently stay in the emirate’s hotels for an average of 3.4 nights.
Currently three airlines fly from India, from 15 different destinations, to Abu Dhabi – accounting for more than 300 flights a week. Indian travellers are no more than four hours flying time away. This makes Abu Dhabi a great short-break alternative.
How can Abu Dhabi and India work together to grow tourism numbers, especially MICE?
Abu Dhabi was selected as the TAAI Convention’s host venue following a successful bid by the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau – the dedicated division of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) which champions the emirate as a dynamic global business events leader. Our location and ease of access makes Abu Dhabi a superb meetings and conventions choice – where delegates can arrive fresh and ready to get down to business.
India is a key market for corporate and incentive groups, and offers great potential from the Weddings sector as a convenient wedding celebration destination. Abu Dhabi has the facilities to host large groups and intimate wedding celebrations, while offering the depth and diversity of experiences for add-on elements. We also have an extensive network of professional conference organisers and destination management companies to help plan festivities, supported by an Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau scheme which offers a range of incentives to support wedding planners.
What are the new hotel and convention facilities that will soon be available in Abu Dhabi?
In addition to the recent opening of the Marriott Downtown, Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island and the Millennium Bab Al Qasr hotels, there is a stream of major hotel developments under construction and slated for opening between now and 2018. The 400+ roomed city-centre Fairmont Marina on the Corniche Breakwater, five-star Jumeirah Beach Resort on Saadiyat Island which will have 297 rooms and is due for completion in Q4 2018; another five star property is the Grand Rotana Saadiyat, which will have 341 rooms and is due to open Q4 this year. Also under construction is the deluxe city hotel apartments Park View Arjaan Saadiyat, which will have 217 rooms and is due for completion in Q3 2017. A Hard Rock Hotel has also been announced for opening in 2018.
What is the future roadmap?
There will be continued investment in the Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau to position Abu Dhabi as a leading business events destination and attract and host major conference and congress meetings. It will work in a coordinated joined-up approach bringing government, Government Related Entity, public and private sectors together under a ‘one Abu Dhabi’ for bid developments to target conferences, congress and association meetings from sectors identified as pillars of 2030 Vision – education, medical, transport, environmental, sustainable energy etc.
The Convention Bureau will continue to offer the Advantage Abu Dhabi incentive programme which acts as a catalyst to support and stimulate the sector for attracting business events to Abu Dhabi, and we are improving event licensing system to ease application process for all event hosts and planners. I believe these actions will appeal to the Indian market.