Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven Arabian Gulf emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates, is rolling out a major expansion of its meeting industry infrastructure at IMEX– one of Europe’s largest business tourism events – now underway in Frankfurt.
At the Abu Dhabi pavilion, the emirate’s tourism authority and 10 major stakeholders, are demonstrating developments which include enhancements to the destination’s award-winning Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre and several key new hotel properties.
The infrastructure development, which is helping transform the emirate into The Happening Place For Business, comes as meetings professionals in the destination report sustained strong demand from key source markets Germany and the UK and increasing interest from emerging territories, namely Russia, Brazil, Asia and the Americas.
“The safety of the destination appears to be a big selling point with buyers from Russia and Brazil,” explained Adnan Aridi, General Manager of Alpha Tours Abu Dhabi. “We are looking to win over both markets. Russia is important. We recently hosted an incentive for 649 people from Johnson & Johnson Russia and it went very well and we hope it turns into a market entry for us. The meetings industry currently represents 25% of our business and we can see this growing in tandem with the emirate’s sector infrastructure.”
Also reporting increased new market interest is the Hilton Abu Dhabi, which holds a prime position in the destination’s signature Corniche. “Asia and the Americas are opening up and these are markets we will now focus on cultivating,” said the hotel’s Sanjay Nair, Director of Sales.
Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) is the focal point of the destination’s business tourism expansion with the complex now ranking as the largest and most modern in the Arabian Gulf. This year will witness completion of the second phase of ADNEC’s expansion with the final completion of two multi-storey car parks and the opening of the adjacent Aloft Abu Dhabi hotel – the brand’s entry property in the Arabian Gulf. Next year will see the opening of ADNEC’s iconic Capital Gate Tower which will house the five-star Hyatt At Capital Centre.
The Aloft Abu Dhabi, which, with 480 rooms is the world’s largest Aloft property, is already reporting strong interest ahead of its planned October opening.
“Business enquiries for Q4 this year and Q1 in 2010 are very encouraging,” reports the hotel’s Public Relations Manager Tanya Haroun. “Ninety percent of the business is coming out of the corporate or exhibitions groups segments largely from within the GCC, Germany and the UK.”
Another imminent new-to-market property courting IMEX visitors is the Crowne Plaza Yas Island – one of seven hotels being built on the island which will later this year host the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final race of the 2009 Formula 1 season. Again the hotel is reporting strong interest with 60% of its anticipated business projected to come from the business tourism segment, according to its Director of Sales & Marketing Raffi Torikian.
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which has co-ordinated the IMEX pavilion, is also planning industry and media updates on its recently-launched Advantage Abu Dhabi meetings industry catalyst initiative.
“The stimulation of the corporate meetings business is very much viewed as in line with the authority’s mandate of delivering events which not only benefit the tourism industry but the emirate’s economy and international knowledge transfer,” explained Gillian Taylor, Business Tourism Manager, ADTA.
Caption: ADNEC expanding and the focal point of The Happening Place For Business Tourism.