The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has held the regular Industry Development Meeting (IDM) with its hotel partners to discuss their cooperation and the exciting developments and challenges impacting tourism in the emirate.
The meeting at the Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel was attended by hotel General Managers, representatives of other stakeholders, including attractions, destination management companies, Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), as well as managers and employees from DCT Abu Dhabi. Its objective was to promote regular communication between DCT Abu Dhabi and the hotels, creating further synergy between key stakeholders in the government and private sectors and coordinating effective ways to develop the destination.
eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us)
HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said the IDM was an opportunity for all key partners to effectively support each other in improving the visitor and guest experiences in Abu Dhabi. “While in recent years we have seen an impressive trajectory in growth of visitor numbers and hotel guests, we cannot be complacent if we want to continue this trend,” he said.
“By holding continuous dialogue with Abu Dhabi’s hotels, we can effectively communicate our key messages and objectives, listen to their ideas to further our partnerships, and outline all the exciting new investments and promotional activities that we are sure will continue to make Abu Dhabi an even more enticing and extraordinary destination.
“We are exploring more markets to target and expand into, through pilot programmes and initiatives, as well as activation efforts in promising markets where we see opportunity. But we hope to work closely with local partners across the value chain to support us in increasing overall footfall to Abu Dhabi.”
DCT representatives explained the successful efforts employed to keep up to date with the latest marketing trends. Through data-driven marketing and deep analysis of its audience, DCT Abu Dhabi has been able to deliver the right message at the right time, while also continuing to evaluate global tourism trends to protect and further Abu Dhabi’s share of outbound tourism. DCT Abu Dhabi has built strong relationships with media and promoters to ensure accurate information about the destination is presented to key audiences and markets. By evaluating partnerships based on objective criteria, DCT Abu Dhabi is then able to generate the right content for the hotels and other important partners’ requirements.
Attendees at the IDM also heard about DCT Abu Dhabi’s new initiative to offer marketing support to hotels which focuses on generating increases in occupancy and length of stays during key periods. Through data analysis, key forecasts can then be generated, ensuring an effective and transparent collaboration.
The relevant regulations to optimise hotel performance were outlined by DCT Abu Dhabi. These include ones introduced in the Ghadan 21 (Tomorrow 21) Government Accelerator Programme such as the reduction of tourism fees for hotels and restaurants from 6% to 3.5%, municipality fees for hotels and restaurants from 4% to 2%, and daily municipality fees for each hotel room from AED 15 to AED 10. Other regulations that have been optimised include the easing of visa requirements for several key markets, such as China, India and Russia, and the launch of a centralised tourism and events licensing platform.
In terms of notable performance statistics in the 2019 year-to-date to April, attendees were informed that hotel guest numbers were up 2.3% to 1,760,502; total hotel revenues rose by 13.7% to 2.25 billion; and hotel occupancy was up 1.1% to 79%. There were, however, a number of global issues and challenges affecting the industry, including the trade dispute between China and the USA; and the strength of the US Dollar (to which the UAE Dirham is pegged) against currencies in key markets such as the Euro and British Pound.
The initiatives of DCT Abu Dhabi’s Events Bureau to boost hotel performance were also highlighted. This involves leisure events being centred around themed weeks and year-long activations to increase visitor numbers and lengths of stay, and a focus on the number of ticketed attendees and the room nights these initiatives can generate.
DCT Abu Dhabi also highlighted the role of the Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau in championing efforts to create a thriving MICE industry in the emirate. The rich calendar of exhibitions, conferences, association events and congresses are expected to bring a large number of visitors to the emirate. To address seasonal fluctuations, DCT Abu Dhabi has launched initiatives catering to business delegates to increase visitor numbers and lengths of stay during the quieter summer months.
Other topics on the IDM agenda included the expected boost in visitor figures with upcoming events such as UFC 242 on Yas Island on 7 September, 2019; the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019; the Summer #inAbuDhabi season, offering deals and experiences across theme parks, museums, hotels and restaurants; and the host of other events during a packed Q4 of the year. It was revealed that DCT Abu Dhabi will soon be sharing exciting news about other mega events in the next two quarters.