Abu Dhabi launches as a Travel Brand in the US
In a bid to boost tourism from the United States, the Abu Dhabi Tourism ‘&’ Culture Authority has set up a dedicated promotion office in New York City.
The office, which is staffed by a team of four and led by Country Manager Kershing Goh, will represent the emirate’s interests in developing tourism from the United States. As a part of the office launch celebrations, the authority kicked-off a multi-faceted campaign, which includes the takeover of New York City’s Times Square, branding initiatives involving the Big Apple’s iconic yellow taxis as well as a slew of new attractive travel offers to the Arabian emirate recently described by the USA’s Travel ‘&’ Leisure magazine as: “fast developing into the hottest destination in the Middle East.” “Our aim is to take the taste, sound, sight, touch and scents of Abu Dhabi to one of the centers of New York’s action,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, the authority’s International Promotions.
Aptly- themed �Traveller’s Welcome- A Taste of Abu Dhabi’s Hospitality,’ the Abu Dhabi Interactive Pop-Up will take over Times Square’s Father Duffy Square from the 17 – 19 May. Visitors will get a glimpse into true Abu Dhabi offerings, with a traditional majlis in the iconic landmark offering dates and coffee, henna artists, perfume mixologists and more.
Captivating video footage depicting the emirate’s future progression, from the highly anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, to Masdar City – the world’s first carbon-neutral, zero-emissions city – will roll, while those with a sense of adventure can interact with a falcon and trainer- a signature Abu Dhabi offering. Also onsite will be Ayala dancers, performing traditional dances. The United Arab Emirates’ award-winning national airline carrier Etihad Airways will also be present welcoming guests to the Pop-Up experience and offering exciting giveaways.
“Opening a US office was a natural progression for us,” said Dayne Lim, Product Development Director, Abu Dhabi Tourism ‘&’ Culture Authority. “Abu Dhabi is rapidly becoming an important travel destination and with all the exciting developments over the next few years, it will be a destination to reckon with. We believe what we have to offer will appeal to visitors from the US on both business and leisure fronts. With increased air access from the US planned, this is a timely initiative.” To coincide with the launch, Abu Dhabi has partnered with leading tour operators Abercrombie ‘&’ Kent, Cox ‘&’ Kings, Linara Travel, Ritz Tours and Goway Travel to introduce travel packages to the emirate.
The opening of the US office is Abu Dhabi’s first major foray into America and a part of the emirate’s measured efforts towards economic diversification of which tourism is a key pillar. US hotel guest nights in Abu Dhabi have been steadily growing over the years reaching 486,488 nights, a 16% increase in 2011 from 2010. Based on guest nights, the USA is the emirate’s second international source market for Abu Dhabi. On the MICE front, Abu Dhabi has also welcomed a number of significant MICE groups from the US, including significant America participation in February’s World Ophthalmology Congress with 12,000 attendees and the destination’s largest congress to date.
Heightened air connectivity between the USA and Abu Dhabi is on the cards with Etihad Airways planning to launch daily, non-stop services between Washington D.C. and Abu Dhabi International Airport from March 31 next year. The airline currently operates daily, non-stop flights from JFK New York and Chicago to Abu Dhabi International.
With the number of visitors far exceeding expectations in 2011, and the impressive openings of leading hotels and resorts over the last several months, Abu Dhabi is emerging as a strong competitor in the travel sector.