RITIKA SHARMA / Emirates Business
Abu Dhabiâ€™s tourism industry is heading to China next week, visiting five major cities, with a dedicated roadshow which aims to showcase the Emirate to the Peopleâ€™s Republic and reinforce the rapid growth of inbound tourism from the country.
A 15-strong delegation, led by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and comprising hotels, travel agents, attractions and the countryâ€™s national airline Etihad Airways, will visit Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hong Kong over five days from March 28.
China is the third largest overseas market for Abu Dhabi, with 2015 seeing 177,198 Chinese guest arrivals into Abu Dhabi â€” an increase of 47% over the previous year â€” and a 31% increase in guest nights at the emirateâ€™s hotels and hotel apartments, to 263,675.
â€œIt is crucial for us to continue to increase our presence in the Chinese market and boost awareness about the many and varied products we have across the emirate. China is an extremely important overseas source market for us,â€ said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director Promotions & Overseas Offices, TCA Abu Dhabi.
â€œWe are still working hard, though, to encourage our Chinese visitors to experience more of our burgeoning tourism offerings and spend longer in the emirate. Last year we welcomed 23 hotels, attractions and experiences into the Welcome Chinese programme in partnership with China Tourism Academy, which has helped boost our inbound numbers considerably, and we hope this Roadshow will help translate these impressive inbound numbers into longer stays for our Chinese friends.â€
Joining TCA Abu Dhabi will be Emirates Palace hotel; Jannah Hotels and Resorts; Le Royal Meridien Hotel; City Seasons Hotels; Danat Hotels and Resorts; Armed Forces Officers Club; Premier Travel and Tourism; Planet Travels and Tours; Miral Destination Management; Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; Omeir Holidays; Al Burj Travel and Tours; Al Bada Resort; Arabian Adventures as well as the UAEâ€™s national carrier, Etihad Airways.
While there are already daily flights to Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong, from August 1, the daily service to Shanghai will be upgraded with the introduction of the new 299-seat 787 Dreamliner, which is expected to further boost inbound travel.
â€œChina is a very important market to Etihad Airways. Demand is strong and last year alone, Etihad Airways carried more than 650,000 passengers to and from Greater China,â€ said Shane O’Hare, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Etihad Airways.
â€œWe are very pleased to see China has been the best performing market for Abu Dhabi in terms of growth, recording a 47% increase in visitor numbers compared with 2014.â€
â€œAs the national airlines of the United Arab Emirates, we are proud to be coming together with TCA Abu Dhabi as very close partners in promoting Chinese tourism to Abu Dhabi, the capital city of UAE, and the hub of Etihad Airways.â€
Rima Rawass, Group Marketing Manager from Danat Hotels & Resorts said: â€œThere are two projects that we are excited to be bringing to the Chinese on this trip; we are fully renovating our Dhafra Beach Hotel property of 100 rooms and adding 100 rooms to the inventory. And as well as this, we are adding 24 chalets to our Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort and three restaurants and health club facilities.
â€œWe are expecting that the Chinese market may increase by 15% in 2016 and expecting more room nights production next year in 2017 since Chinese travellers have varied interests â€” culture, heritage, cuisine, beach and resorts, golf and shopping â€” which they can all find in Abu Dhabi in particular, and the UAE in general.â€
Ali Rizvi, General Manager from Al Bada Resort, Al Ainâ€™s unique Desert Resort, said: â€œWe are very excited to be involved in the China roadshow organised by TCA Abu Dhabi, and we will be promoting specially designed packages, including half-board and full-board with 2, 3 and 4-day activities for families within the resort and with partners in Al Ain such as Al Ain Zoo, Hili Fun City, Wadi Adventure and also trips to camel farms. We believe these will prove to be very popular to the Chinese traveller.â€
Bruno Wiley, Vice President of Sales at Farah Experiences, said: â€œWe are very excited to introduce our latest theme park experience in China â€” the record-breaking Flying Aces roller coaster, which has recently â€˜taken offâ€™ at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island.
â€œThe first bi-plane-themed coaster, Flying Aces has been acclaimed for having the worldâ€™s tallest non-inverted loop as well as the steepest and fastest inclined cable lift, and the ride mimics the movements of the 1900â€™s bi-planes to offer extreme gravity defying flight acrobatics.
â€œThe ride adds to the already fantastic range of fun-filled attractions and family-focussed offerings on Yas Island, such as the Emirati, pearl diving inspired experiences at Yas Waterworld â€” and we are looking forward to showcasing everything the island has to offer once again to China.â€