A delegation of Abu Dhabi’s leading tourism stakeholders is heading to China next week for a five-city road show aimed at building inbound visitation from the People’s Republic, which is now the emirate’s eighth largest source market for hotel guests.
The road show will take in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong and comes as Abu Dhabi looks to increase the length of stay of Chinese visitors to the emirate.
“While China is producing increasing numbers of hotel guests, the time they actually stay in the emirate, on average, is actually less than two days,” explained Mubarak Al Nuaimi, international promotions manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. “We will be looking to convince Chinese visitors, through strong trade and media engagement, that there is now much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi than ever before so that they increase the number of nights they stay in the destination.
In the first two months of this year 6,041 Chinese nationals stayed in Abu Dhabi’s hotels – an 82% rise on the same period last year. The Chinese guests accounted for 11,510 guest nights – a 57% rise on January and February 2011.
“The improved performance from China is largely a result of increased air access from various Republic destinations to Abu Dhabi International,” explained Al Nuaimi. “Etihad Airways, our national carrier, last month began flying five times a week from Shanghai to complement its existing services from Beijing and Chengdu, and the airline also began codeshare flights with China’s Hainan Airlines in a bid to further expand its reach into the Republic. Etihad also has an MOU with China Eastern Airlines on future code sharing which will again extend its outreach into this important market.
“Increased guest traffic has also been served by last year’s entrance of Cathay Pacific, which now flies four times a week from Hong Kong.”
Etihad Airways is among 11 key Abu Dhabi stakeholders joining the five city road show. Others include: the four-star Aloft Abu Dhabi hotel; Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas which currently operates the Desert Islands Resort & Spa on Sir Bani Yas Island, the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort in the Liwa Desert and will shortly open its Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa in Abu Dhabi city; the five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers; the Abu Dhabi-headquartered Rotana Hotels & Resorts; the four-star Radisson Blu Hotel on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island entertainment destination; Emirates Palace; leading tour operators and destination management companies DBA Sons Travel & Tours, Net Tours and The Vision Destination Management; as well as Yas Marina Circuit.
During the road show, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority will provide each stakeholder with a complimentary translator to ensure their messages are clearly understood by future Chinese partners.
“The prospects from China remain strong,” said Al Nuaimi. “The Chinese are getting richer, but their cost of living is also getting higher and they therefore find it attractive to holiday abroad because it can be cheaper than spending vacations at home. We are looking to tap into this increased desire to travel. With the RMB currency becoming stronger and Abu Dhabi now experiencing more competitive rooms rates, we offer the Chinese traveller a more affordable destination to engage with luxury and culture.”