Abu Dhabi taps M!CE & leisure

H.E. Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, deliberates on how they are preparing to welcome Indian tourists, as Abu Dhabi opens its doors to global travellers.

Nisha Verma

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) recently announced that the Emirate will accept fully vaccinated tourists and residents from all nations across the world, as well as unvaccinated visitors from countries on the ‘Green List,’ with no quarantine requirements.

India market

“UAE is home to the biggest number of Indians overseas, with 3.42 million Indians – roughly one quarter of all Indians abroad,” Al Shaiba claims. “Indian trends indicate that the leisure travel revival will gain traction,” he said.

Tapping Indian market

Al Shaiba claimed that various local training initiatives for the travel trade industry, have proven their commitment to the Indian market. “This involves a renewed focus on our Specialist E-Learning Program as well as marketing activities.” Safety is a major concern for travellers, and Abu Dhabi has stringent standards in place over the previous 18 months,” he said.

Trends in focus

According to the recent Global COVID-19 Sentiment Survey done by DCT Abu Dhabi, sightseeing vacations are popular among Indian tourists, making Abu Dhabi an ideal destination. “In addition, 65 per cent of Indian travellers base their decisions on low COVID-19 case numbers in the destination, and 43 per cent consider Abu Dhabi as an ideal family holiday destination.” As Indian travellers are more inclined to take short-haul flights than mid-long-haul flights, Abu Dhabi is ready to welcome both business and leisure travellers,” said Al Shaiba.

Abu Dhabi with Dubai

Usually travellers combine Abu Dhabi with Dubai, but Al Shaiba  mentioned that Abu Dhabi has some of the most diverse offerings in the luxury and affordable luxury segment for people to experience Emirati hospitality, unwind in luxurious resorts or on pristine beaches, or indulge in a huge variety of leisure and entertainment activities.

Leisure offerings

Abu Dhabi has a wide array of leisure offerings that cater to Indians’ choice, ranging from delectable culinary experiences, incomparable ‘staycations’, and numerous shopping spots to unique entertainment and desert activities. “Apart from that, theme parks, heritage sites, and beaches are some of its perpetual attractions. Also, Abu Dhabi enjoys a year-round calendar of activities and events,” he highlighted.

Tapping the M!CE

Over the last decade, Abu Dhabi has grown in popularity as a M!CE destination, with an influx of business travellers from all over the world and India ranking among the top source markets for tourism. “Our M!CE team is collaborating with stakeholders to create new M!CE-specific itineraries for Indian groups. We will also be holding many international events in Abu Dhabi over the next three months, including the ICC T20 World Cup, the Abu Dhabi T10 League, the Formula1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and UFC 267, and we are prepared to welcome Indian M!CE groups for these events,” Al Shaiba said.

“We have a very attractive incentive and support programme for MICE groups called ‘Advantage Abu Dhabi,’ where we help organisations schedule meetings with local government or private institutions to facilitate business and investment opportunities, in addition to financial support.” In 2021, our strategic approach has also been to include virtual and physical training and education for trade partners and corporations across India, we’ve organised virtual training sessions and webinars and arranged virtual FAM trips for key corporates in India.”

Transit travel

Abu Dhabi makes for a great transit destination for Indians on a long-haul trip to the West, with easy and quick accessibility to a variety of diverse tourist spots, allowing travellers a quick break to unwind before resuming their trip.

Going Forward

Emirati hospitality, bolstered by effective vaccination campaign, has improved confidence, with over 80% of all citizens and residents, as well as over 95% of all hospitality personnel, immunised. “The Go Safe Certification programme in Abu Dhabi ensures the highest levels of health and safety. Industry sources suggest that Indian passengers are positive, with safety and hygiene paving the new wave of travel,” adds Al Shaiba.


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