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Capital Gains: Abu Dhabi raises tourism stakes

Capital Gains: Abu Dhabi raises tourism stakes

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority reveals its marketing plans to attract three million visitors by 2014. Kathi Everden reports.

May 16, 2011 5:12 by

Marketing by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is accelerating this year as a consumer activation programme is finalised to stimulate travel demand to the emirate, as well as reinforcing its rising stature as a compelling destination, according to ADTA strategy and policy director Lawrence Franklin.

“The campaign and programme will span approximately 30 weeks and be designed with a global footprint, enabling us to hit both our primary and emerging source markets with effective impact,” he says.

“In numerical terms, it will be a major tactical promotion towards meeting our 2011 target of two million hotel guests, and 2014 target in excess of three million – while the mechanics will be founded on both the destination’s inspiration state and aspirational qualities, leveraging Abu Dhabi’s recent accolades as a rising star on the international tourism stage.”

A second-stage advertising campaign moves beyond awareness building to a call-to-action, running the question ‘so you think you’ve done it all?’ across TV, print and online outlets throughout the pan-Arab world, in Europe, Russia, Asia and North America, kicking off in April through to December.

Additionally, the emirate is hosting an average of five journalists a week, has an extensive international exhibition programme, and is in the process of opening ADTA offices in Moscow, Jeddah and New York, the latter scheduled to open in June.

It’s all part of the strategic marketing of Abu Dhabi, carried out in conjunction with Etihad Airways, which has its own ‘Essential Abu Dhabi’ programme, to increase the stopover market. It offers visitors discounts at hotels, for excursions, dining, cultural and entertainment events on presentation of a valid boarding pass.

In another initiative, ADTA has teamed up with one of Europe’s leading travel groups, TUI AG, for a three-month B2C promotion. Windows of 220 TUI travel agencies will display TVs running footage of Abu Dhabi, while 150 poster slots will run promotional material for a week, and a further 12,500 agencies will feature posters of varied Abu Dhabi attractions.

All things maritime are also taking centre stage with MSC Cruises set to home port at Mina Zayed this winter. Abu Dhabi is also positioned as the official destination partner for the Volvo Ocean Race arriving in the emirate on New Year’s Eve.

“Abu Dhabi is well placed with its pristine coastline and 200-plus islands to tap in to the international trend of establishing private cruise islands or beach and other facilities dedicated to cruise passengers,” Franklin says.

“In addition, we are finalising plans for a Race Village to be activated to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to ensure the destination delivers a welcome like no other … this will include major concert performances, in-port sailing and a host of family activities.”

Marketing spend was not disclosed.

Article was originally published in GMR May issue, page 56

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