Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing, DCT Abu Dhabi H.E. Ali Hassan Al Shaiba shared his insight on how do they keep on developing the Emirate to impress foreigners.
Abu Dhabi is a truly extraordinary tourism destination. What makes it so unique for travellers?
Abu Dhabi is truly one of a kind: we offer a multitude of experiences in one emirate. In other countries, you may be able to enjoy top-notch cultural institutions, but you’ll need to travel some distance to get to a pristine beach, see a fantastic live show or enjoy a thrilling adventure park. In Abu Dhabi, you can do all of that – and more – in one day.
As Abu Dhabi is welcoming all vaccinated tourists and those from countries on its 'Green List' with no quarantine; we firmly believe that the time is now to visit Abu Dhabi. Travellers can come and create extraordinary memories and explore the vast array of cultural and tourist attractions whilst enjoying a safe and welcoming environment. With the peace of the desert on our doorstep and the bustle of the city at our heart, Abu Dhabi's beautiful islands and azure beaches are bound to give visitors memories that will last a lifetime.
How is Abu Dhabi prepared for the first World Expo to be held in the MENA region, which will coincide with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee? What preparations are in place to welcome travellers from around the world?
The UAE is gearing up to welcome millions of visitors for Expo 2020, and Abu Dhabi is looking forward to many of the attendees visiting the emirate. With new hotels opening at a steady pace, such as the recently established Hilton Yas Island hotel, we are more than prepared for the influx. Our safety protocols are respected around the world, so visitors can rest assured that they will be COVID-19 safe and protected. With a presence at Expo 2020 itself, we are excited to showcase Abu Dhabi as an exciting, premium destination to a global audience. Our team is working around the clock alongside our partners, ensuring effective collaboration that aims to support the success of our stakeholders across the UAE. Expo 2020 is a significant event that we are all proud of, and we look forward to leveraging its platform to showcase the unity of the UAE through our work and cooperation.
How do you keep on developing the Emirate to impress foreigners? Any new attractions or landmarks coming soon that you would like to highlight?
Abu Dhabi is continuously expanding its portfolio of tourism offerings in an aim to uplift its profile as a leading tourism destination. With close to 50 years of achievements under its belt, the ambition of our leaders continues to pave the way for the successful development of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Naturally, the emirate encompasses a diverse setting spread across three distinct regions: Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain and Al Dhafra. Each of these destinations offer their own range of unique experiences, which we aim to enhance through our development plans. There is plenty underway for Abu Dhabi. Not only are we launching the region’s largest indoor snow park and aquarium, but we also have projects underway for additional hotels to align with the anticipated increase in visitors over the coming year.
Moreover, the emirate will be introducing a number of new events within the sports and entertainment sector, which are expected to attract further visitors from across the globe.
Please tell us more about the family-friendly entertainment hub, Yas Island?
Yas Island is where the world comes to play. Top-flight hotels, including the soon-to-open world-first Warner Bros. Hotel, are the launchpad for adventure at our theme parks: Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, CLYMB Abu Dhabi, and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Spend the morning on the golf course at Yas Links, go shopping at Yas Mall or have fun at Yas Beach. When you are ready for entertainment, you can catch a live show at Etihad Arena, the newly opened live entertainment venue. It truly is a place for the entire family to have fun.
What are the precautionary measures applied in the Emirate to ensure the health and safety of tourists and residents?
We are very proud of the measures that Abu Dhabi has taken to ensure the safety of our community and visitors. As one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, with mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing protocols, the UAE – and Abu Dhabi in particular – has emerged as a leader in the fight against COVID-19.
Additionally, the capital has successfully implemented a programme known as Go Safe, which was created particularly for the tourism and retail sectors to safeguard staff, residents and visitors. Go Safe has helped minimise concerns around safety, providing room for relaxation and entertainment.
In general, Abu Dhabi is known for its safety, in fact – the city was recently recognised as the safest in the region and 31st in the world by The Economist Safest Cities Index. In Abu Dhabi, tourists can visit safe in the knowledge that their safety is taken care of.
What marketing strategies are you implementing to reach the Russian and CIS markets?
We will soon be taking our destination roadshow to Russia, promoting Abu Dhabi to travel and tourism partners in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan. We will primarily focus on our unique value proposition for the Russian market and showcase events and attractions that would draw travellers from Russia and CIS to Abu Dhabi. We also wish to highlight our new travel guidelines, having opened our borders for all vaccinated people, meaning we can attract and welcome numerous visitors from around the globe with ease.
We also want to introduce our ‘Abu Dhabi Specialists E-learning Programme’ to the market’s travel trade partners. Abu Dhabi launched this initiative over a year ago to educate industry professionals, including tour operators, travel agencies and home-based agents, introducing numerous ways to promote Abu Dhabi effectively. So far, we have successfully rolled out the initiative across 17 different countries and in seven languages. Approximately 13,670 applicants have registered for the course, of which over 7,000 have graduated as ‘Abu Dhabi Specialists’. As part of a wider expansion into new markets, most notably Switzerland and Israel, we look to increase our applicants and graduates in Russia and CIS.
Our investment into education and training our key source market partners demonstrates DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment towards supporting the travel trade and providing quality advice and service to customers considering Abu Dhabi as a travel destination.