By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority forms committee to enhance retail attractions
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has set up a dedicated industry development committee (IDC) to drive the retail sector in the emirate.
The committee, comprising representatives of 14 leading retail operations, met for the first time this week to begin talks on identifying issues impacting the industry.
It also aims to devise tactics "for meshing the sector more into Abu Dhabi's overall tourism proposition".
The move comes as neighbour Dubai attracts a vast number of tourists on the back of its reputation for luxury shopping, including giant malls such as Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates.
"Retail plays a key role in enhancing the visitor experience, particularly for some of our key emerging markets such as India, China and Russia," said Mohammed Al Dhaheri, quality and performance manager, TCA Abu Dhabi, who is chairing the authority's retail IDC.
"We hope by working more closely with the sector we will ultimately deliver an enhanced year-round experience for visitors and a more co-ordinated approach to festival offerings."
Abu Dhabi's retail sector is maturing with the recent opening of The Avenue at Etihad Towers, the UAE capital's first, stand-alone, high-end shopping destination.
In early 2014, Yas Mall, which is set to be the emirate's largest shopping destination, is also slated to open.
"Other major and niche projects are in the pipeline which the destination will be able to successfully leverage on," added Al Dhaheri.
The new IDC's membership includes representatives of: Marina Mall, Al Ain Mall, Bawadi Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Bawabat Al Sharq, Abu Dhabi Mall, Khalidiya Mall, Delma Mall, Mushrif Mall, Al Raha Mall, Paragon, Wahat Hili, Souk Garyat Al Bari and ALDAR, the developers of Central Market and the upcoming Yas Mall.
Retail is the fifth IDC to be established by TCA Abu Dhabi following similar moves for hospitality, attractions, tour operator and aviation segments.