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Thu 31 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

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Swinging incentives

ADTA has earmarked golf as a key driver in the emirate's business tourism development.

Abu Dhabi Golf Club is giving incentive groups the chance to fly as well as drive.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has earmarked golf as a key driver in business tourism development for the emirate.

With this in mind, Abu Dhabi Golf Club (ADGC) has created a meetings and incentive offering that it hopes will be a major attraction to business clients - especially when combined with major plans for renovation and extra meetings facilities at the club.

ADTA sees golf as a huge asset to driving business tourism into the region.

"One of the initiatives for the golf club is to drive tourism and that's not just leisure, but the business side of it," said director of sales and marketing for ADGC, Nik Robinson.

"ADTA sees golf as a huge asset to driving business tourism into the region and one thing we need to do is to make that as accessible as possible for meeting and incentive planners."

In order to achieve this accessibility, Robinson and his team have created a meeting and incentive package tailored towards the needs of the meetings industry that incorporates golf as a key facilitator in developing business tourism within Abu Dhabi.

This planning includes a massive renovation of the current offering, according to Robinson.

"At the moment we have five restaurants, 27 holes of championship golf, an academy, a health club and a swimming pool."

"Now we will have an internal extensive refurbishment of the club-house, as well as a 147-room Westin Hotel with a spa, which will also include a new golf academy," he added.

As well as refurbishing the boardroom, the top floor will become purely tailored towards meetings, Robinson explains: "It was actually a restaurant or function room, but we will fit it with state-of-the-art equipment including audio and visual," he said.

The room will be able to accommodate 60 to 70 people, but if planners require outside space, facilities will be provided.

"For outdoor events we are extending our Falcon Terrace, which will enable us to cater for more than 200 people for such things as gala dinners, so that's fairly significant," Robinson explained.

As well as providing tailored meeting facilities, ADGC has developed its incentive offering.

"We have tournament coordination, branding and signage of shirts, we've also got helicopter flights over Abu Dhabi," Robinson added.

Capitalising on an aerial view, the helicopter flight provides an opportunity to see the development of the surrounding islands, something not possible from the ground.

The club hasn't kept its head in the clouds though, and is now also looking to introduce cultural and heritage tours as part of the incentive package.

However, in terms of unique selling points, Robinson says there are two: "We were voted number one golf club of the year in the Middle East and that is the first thing; the golf course. It's first-class and all year round it's in pristine condition, purely through Troon Golf Agronomical standards," he explained.

"The second is the location, as we are well positioned towards the airport, which is five to 10 minutes away. Abu Dhabi is 15 minutes away and if required, Dubai is only 45 minutes away," Robinson concluded.

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