This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
We would argue that we’ve become a good value-for-money destination in terms of quality of product and infrastructure on offer


Lawrence Franklin, Strategy and Policy, Division director ADTA


“Events like the Formula One basically fill up the town. You’re


talking about 50,000-plus visitors in grandstands, room rates going up. It has huge economic benefits for the destination. And add to that the awareness benefits. “There are the real benefits in terms of occupancy and people spending money. Maybe they come for the F1 but they also get exposed to many of the other things the destination has to offer. “There is also the benefit of repeat tourism, corporate hos-


pitality and deal-making. It’s incredibly important. This is an opportunity for the ADTA, Mubadala and Etihad to bring their influential partners and stakeholders, show them what the destination has to offer and put pen to paper signing deals. ”


BRINGING IN BUSINESS While Abu Dhabi continues to pursue leisure tourism to diver- sify its industry, revenue from the meetings industry is still the biggest contributor to the hospitality sector. Franklin estimates that business tourism accounts for 70 to


75 percent of all hotel stays. It is a slice of the market that the ADTA takes seriously, with dedicated programmes and a team working entirely on the business tourism sector. “An event we discuss a lot is the World Ophthalmology


Congress in 2012, which involves in excess of 12,000 delegates. This is a huge conference that will basically mop up all room stock for that period of time,” he explains.


“We’re not always going to get events of that magnitude, but we’re continuing to work on health- care congresses, World Green Tourism conference [December 5 to 7] and other programmes like that.” With Abu Dhabi’s focus on the luxury sector, par-


Ophthalmology Congress in 2012


12,000 delegates at World


ticularly in the hotel sector, is there concern that it may impact business tourism? Not so, says Franklin. “We certainly have a lot of product in the five-


and four-star hotel range, although there’s contin- ued growth in four-star and three-star properties. We’re keen on maintaining a bias towards the higher end of the market,” he explains. “Most of the discussion in 2007, 2008 and even


the beginning of 2009 was about the cost of accom- modation in Abu Dhabi, value proposition and whether it was pricing business travellers out of the market. But the fact that those hotels were still full and doing well meant that there was a business market that was prepared to pay those prices.” The landscape has changed markedly since late-


Previous page: Yas Island


Below:


Wildlife at Sir Bani Yas Island


2009 with the opening of a number of hotels, includ- ing seven on Yas Island, and more coming online since. In fact, the end of 2011 will see an additional 10 hotels added to the mix, all in the luxury sector. “We’re seeing a significant shift in average room


rate and we’ve reached a point where we’re within the mix of world markets. We would argue that we’ve become a good value-for-money destination in terms of quality of product and infrastructure on offer. “Those changes and dynamics have made the industry a bit hungrier, forcing people to work together in terms of packaging, distribution and negotiation, which has been good for the growth in leisure tourism. “One of the realities is that in a market where


hotels are running at 85 to 90 percent and room rates are extraordinarily high there may be many corporates that are prepared to swallow those expenses. However, people who are relying on their own wallets or have discretionary spending are going to be priced out of the market.” Fortunately, the market correction has occurred


and with even more hotels opening, added leisure facilities, an array of new and interesting meetings and conference options, the future looks bright for Abu Dhabi. 


/ 45


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68