Abu Dhabi puts MICE at centre stage

The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi, recently organised an educational webinar focusing on MICE titled ‘Rediscover MICE in Abu Dhabi’ which presented the emirate’s various MICE offerings. Abu Dhabi is not a one-day destination.  There are offerings, for upto 11 days, based on client requirements.

Nisha Verma

Nikhil Jeet, Country Manager India, Department of Culture & Tourism – Abu Dhabi, started the discussion with the news of Abu Dhabi opening for fully vaccinated travellers from across the world from September 5, 2021.

Rules first

“We don’t have any green list or red list requirements. It’s open for travellers from across the world.However, if one needs to go to Abu Dhabi, make sure to get the latest requirements,” he informed.

Time is now

Under its campaign ‘Abu Dhabi- The Time is Now’, DCT urges the travel agents to talk to their clients now. “One key takeaway is that Abu Dhabi is not a one-day destination. We have offerings for upto 11days, depending on whatever clients want, including adventure, dining, entertainment, leisure, wellness and team-building.It’s a destination, a city, a region within itself,” said Jeet.

Secondly, he said that Abu Dhabi shouldn’t be thought of as an expensive destination. “I know that’s been a conception in the market. We have over 33,000 hotel rooms in Abu Dhabi, ranging from 1-star hotel apartments to 5-star deluxe hotels.”

Thirdly, he claimed that Abu Dhabi is considered as the Manhattan of the Middle East. “It is young, trendy, happening, has world class restaurants and entertainments. We would like this to be a take-away from this webinar so that you can convey the same to your clients,” he said.

Perfect for MICE

Apart from that, he shared that the emirate offers hotels for meetings, MICE events, weddings, and everything a corporate client can ask for. “We also have an attractiveincentive programme, which is called the ‘Abu Dhabi Advantage Programme’, which can offer up to 350 Dirhams per person as incentive to get your groups of as many as 500 people to Abu Dhabi. Hence, contact us to design your itineraries and we can give incentive support. The first step is to contact DCT Abu Dhabi for all queries. So please contact india@dctabudhabi.ae with all the requirements.”

For MICE, Jeet said that they have a variety of event venues as well as dinner venues and Indian food offerings everywhere. Abu Dhabi is the right MICE destination for Indians. Jeet also informed about the team building exercises, local experiences and upcoming attractions in Abu Dhabi, including Al Qana Aquarium, Snow Park, and Qasr al Watan.

Hospitality offerings

George Ghantous, Director of Sales, Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, shared that they are the latest addition to Abu Dhabi and the hotel is ideal for both MICE and FIT. Insisting that, when it comes to MICE it’s not just the property, but what can be done around is also important. “We opened on February 18, 2020. The Hilton Yas Island Abu Dhabi is part of the Yas Bay Project, and specifically one part of this project called the Yas Waterfront. To the right of the hotel is Etihad Arena, which is the latest event space to open in Abu Dhabi. It can take up to 18,000 people indoor. To the left of the hotel is Pier71, where by Q4 this year we are expecting around 35-40 food and beverage outlets,” he informed.

Speaking about the property, he shared that it is the biggest property on Yas Island. “We have 545 rooms and this project and property has opened because of the vision of having Yas Island as a destination within the destination and to be the ideal MICE destination. The rooms offer stunning views, and are equipped with Expresso machines and flexible working desk if needed. Also, we have the biggest event centre on the island amongst the hotels, offering 20 breakout rooms and 4125 sq. m of total events space. The Yas Grand Ballroom is 1421 sq. m and can take up to 1400 people in theatre style. There is another ballroom, which is 692 sq.m. There are three main F&B outlets in the hotel and two more have to be added at a later stage,” he said.

The best part Ghantous says was that every guest at the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island will get complimentary access to Yas Island theme parks, including Ferrari World, Warner Bros as well as YasWaterworld.

DMC Perspective

RoulaJouny, Executive Director, Tourism 365, revealed that they have recently taken initiatives to support tourism and the incentive business in Abu Dhabi. “One of them is Capital Experiences and the other one is Capital Travel. Capital Experience is a DMC, which will have its own fleet of cars. We have people on the ground and at the airport, exhibition centres, as well as guides. Hence, we will be providing a full-fledged experience, when it comes to DMC. Capital Travel will enhance the experience of the travellers from UAE to abroad, hoping that Capital Experience will expande outside UAE.”

Aysha Omar, Director Contracting, Capital Experience, added that they are focusing on MICE business as Abu Dhabi has the full potential to grow the MICE business. “This is despite the fact that Abu Dhabi could be overshadowed by other Emirates of the UAE, which is something we are looking at changing with the support of DCT Abu Dhabi, as well as tour operators and travel agents in India. We are looking at retaining the MICE business in Abu Dhabi, so that we don’t lose it to any other emirate. It’s not just about price matching, but the experiences Abu Dhabi has on offer. Since we belong to the ADNEC group, whatever the MICE market needs from weddings to leisure, attractions to exhibitions and event management, everything can be covered under Capital Experience,” she said.

 

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