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Tue 30 Dec 2008 08:02 AM

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Abu Dhabi steps up campaign to lure tourists

UAE capital will attend 17 trade exhibitions in 11 countries with China a key market.

Abu Dhabi officials are set to step up their campaign to lure more tourists to the emirate during an international promotion campaign in 2009.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), responsible for attracting visitors to the UAE capital, will mount pavilions at 17 trade exhibitions across 11 countries in 2009.  

Pavilions will appear at the China Incentive Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (CIBTM) in Shanghai next September, and the TTG Incontri leisure show in Rimini, Italy the following month. The ADTA will also be present at the China Internal Travel Marketing in Kunming, China next November, news agency WAM reported.

Encouraging more Chinese people to visit Abu Dhabi is particularly important, according to Ali Al Hosani, ADTA's director of promotions.

“The new exhibition additions reflect our commitment to the lucrative and expanding Chinese market, which is currently achieving outbound meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) business in excess of 10 billion euros ($2.72 billion) a year, according to the MICE China survey.

“This business is estimated to increase five-fold by 2020 and with the expansion of Abu Dhabi's Business Tourism proposition with major new products due on line, it is essential the UAE capital is firmly established on the radar of China's key buyers."  . Some 4,000 hotel rooms are expected to come on line next year, increasing Abu Dhabi’s total capacity to 17,000.

“Abu Dhabi is currently experiencing heavy demand for hotel accommodation, with hotels currently achieving occupancy 85-90% occupancy for most of the year and hoteliers remain bullish about prospects for 2009. In other words, we have pent-up demand,” Al Hosani said.

“Nevertheless, given the long-term projections of 26,600 rooms in total throughout the entire emirate by 2012 and 30,000 by 2013 it is essential we work to ensure increased international awareness to sustain demand. This is all part of a longer term plan for Abu Dhabi emirate leading up to 2030 to establish a world class tourism destination and industry.”

Most Abu Dhabi visitors are business people, with leisure tourists representing a small number. The ADTA wants a 50/50 split between holidaymakers and business travellers.

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