Abu Dhabi Launches International B2B Engagement Initiative ‘Horizons Abu Dhabi’ to Drive Sustainable B2C Expansion

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has launched a new international trade engagement initiative - Horizons Abu Dhabi - aimed towards delivering on its 2010 1.65 million hotel guest target for the emirate– a 10% increase on 2009 and increasing its higher-spend and longer-stay visitor base.

Horizons Abu Dhabi is an open encouragement and invitation to international travel trade players to jump aboard the emirate’s rapidly-expanding tourism bandwagon. Regardless of size and existing business linkages with ADTA, international tour operators are being encouraged to submit fresh, innovative promotional ideas and proposals which will tactically stimulate consumer demand for the emirate.

As a seeding initiative, Horizons Abu Dhabi is both a platform for Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry to expand its international travel trade relations and dynamically activate its consumer travel business.

“Every proposal submitted will be considered in full merit and without bias, with ADTA ready to back all concrete and tangible proposals with the appropriate resources,” said Dayne Lim, Product Development Director, ADTA.

“The time is right for this bold initiative to be rolled out,” added Lim. “Over the past 18 months or so, Abu Dhabi’s visitor infrastructure in terms of accommodation, accessibility and attractions has expanded substantially, and with an increasing stable of leisure offerings being rolled out or in the imminent pipeline, it is only appropriate that we strengthen our international visitor attraction efforts.”

Whilst previously Abu Dhabi’s B2C appeal had been constrained by limited accommodation stock, this has now been rectified with the 2009 addition of some 3,500 rooms in desert retreats, luxury beachfront resorts and five hotels on Yas Island, including the iconic Yas Hotel – the only one in the world straddling a Formula One race track. A further 4,145 hotel rooms will be added in 2010 as an additional 10 hotels open.

“With a series of new, entrepreneurial sightseeing tours and activities, the launch of three new all-grass, 18 hole golf courses, the opening of outstanding desert resorts and the addition of new international events, the time is right for us to step up our international promotion. The proposition will take another major leap forward towards the end of the year with the planned opening of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – the world’s largest indoor theme park on our Yas Island entertainment destination”, Lim added.

ADTA says it is looking to significantly strengthen its global travel trade partner network and will incentivise it to create and implement packages to boost its inbound leisure business.

“When we talk of partnerships, we mean just that. ADTA will back projects with a viable B2C component with financial and/or non-financial resources for our mutual advantage. Opportunity abounds for tailored packaging, particularly focusing on Abu Dhabi’s new leisure product offerings and expanding events portfolio.

"This initiative solidly supports Abu Dhabi's overall tourism development goals. It represents our commitment to make a difference on the global tourism scene, and backs our ambitions with the necessary resources at our disposal,” added Lim.

"Criteria for assessing the type and degree of support will encompass alignment with our Traveller’s Welcome brand promise, our core value of cultural respect and our target audience of hi-end luxury and cultural seekers. Other key factors will include partners’ track records, in-depth industry understanding and expertise, as well as commitment to a long-term relationship."

To drive its international promotional efforts, ADTA plans to supplement its already expansive promotional calendar, which sees Abu Dhabi pavilions at 20 overseas trade fairs – three more than last year – with more trade and consumer promotions, not only in its traditional GCC neighbourhood and European markets, but also in potentially lucrative new source markets such as China, Japan, Russia and the CIS, India, the USA and Scandinavia.

To complement Horizons Abu Dhabi, ADTA also revealed that plans for the impending launch of its global consumer advertising campaign, as well as a major visitor enrichment programme are being finalised.

“Horizons Abu Dhabi is the start of a significant campaign aimed at building leisure tourism’s contribution to our hotel guest receipts,” said Lim. “With world-class marinas, more leisure resorts and family attractions planned, we have an appealing proposition in a destination which has been tipped by both Lonely Planet and Frommer’s as a top 10 destination to visit this year.

“It is also important that we increase our leisure component ahead of the opening from 2013 of the world’s single largest concentration of premier cultural assets on Abu Dhabi’s signature Saadiyat Island destination.

“The Abu Dhabi Horizons message to the international travel trade is quite simply – join us and expand yours.”