By Andy Sambidge
Emirates launches new campaign to attract golfers as Tiger Woods signs up for 2012
Abu Dhabi has unveiled a new campaign to up the emirate's ante in the global golf tourism market estimated to be worth $17bn a year.
Tourism chiefs have launched a 'Golf in Abu Dhabi' initiative - an umbrella marketing, communications, product packaging and distribution platform designed to increase the emirate's penetration of the lucrative sector.
The launch, spearheaded by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), has been developed in partnership with golf clubs, hotels and destination management companies.
The launch comes just days after former world number one golfer Tiger Woods announced he would make his debut in Abu Dhabi's premier golf tournament next year.
Key source markets have been identified as the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, China, Korea and Japan, with golfing to be packaged as both a primary purpose of visit and as part of an overall destination experience.
The vehicle kicks off with special rates at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi Golf Club (ADGC) and Yas Links Golf Club - and bundles ancillary add-ons, such as flights, hotels and the on-the-ground transportation.
Dayne Lim, product development director, ADTA, which manages the emirate's overall tourism industry and owns the annual European PGA Tour-backed Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, said: "Abu Dhabi's golf tourism potential is immense and our competitive positioning will be considerably sharpened through active inter-stakeholder collaborations.
"For the last six years, our now globally-recognised championship has put Abu Dhabi golf on the map," said Lim.
"In Yas Links and ADGC, we also have two courses that have been listed in Golf World magazine's top 100 golf courses, while our multi-year sponsorship deal with Matteo Manassero - the Italian prodigy who acts as a global golf ambassador for the emirate - is reaping global dividends for Abu Dhabi," added Lim.
He said Abu Dhabi's appeal to global golf tourists was also strengthened by the destination's price competitiveness.
Average hotel room rates dropped 14 percent in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2010.