In a bid to take a look at the most recent travel and tourism tendencies in the UAE’s capital city as seen from the point of view of a DMC, TTG talks to vice president, Arabian Adventures, Luc Delcomminette.
TTG: Being an inbound tourism facilitator, what are Arabian Adventures’ main areas of activity?
Arabian Adventures is a Destination Management Company (DMC) that specialises in innovative excursions for inbound tourists as well as local residents looking to discover the best that the UAE has to offer.
Not only do we offer a wide range of tours for both business and leisure groups, but we also provide assistance with all aspects of your visit – right from the arrival to the airport, hotel accommodation and full ground services including transportation.
Arabian Adventures runs a fully-fledged operation in Abu Dhabi, catering to the needs of the most discerning travellers.
TTG: What type of travellers do you work with?
We work with both business and leisure guests on a daily basis. The larger group bookings come mostly from leisure travellers, who are keen to discover the capital of the UAE.
Arabian Adventures has witnessed significant growth in guests staying in Abu Dhabi, following an increase in room inventory and wider range of products now available in the city.
Corporate travel also accounts for increased business in Abu Dhabi, especially over the last two years.
Arabian Adventures offers a full range of services including tours and excursions for individuals and groups, who plan their itinerary months in advance. Given new price dynamics in the capital, last minute business is also increasing and Arabian Adventures services last minutes bookings with bespoke products and services.
Interestingly, there has been a significant shift in both leisure and business travel habits over the past few years with airlines adding numerous new routes to and from the country. As a central location with easy access to Europe and Asia, the UAE has seen a steady growth in the MICE sector bringing a great deal of business to the leisure and tourism industry. We have grown to meet this demand by adding new products and services in the capital.
TTG: Does corporate travel dominate Abu Dhabi’s inbound travel market still?
Corporate travel is still a very large segment for Abu Dhabi, however international leisure traffic has significantly increased. In 2011, the number of hotel guests increased by 17 per cent as compared to 2010.
The average length of stay has also increased by five per cent, which indicates a greater proportion of leisure travellers, who tend to stay longer than corporate clients.
From a service delivery point of view, the number of excursions has also increased, thus signalling a higher number of leisure guests wanting to visit the region through organised trips.
Safety, quality and consistency are a number one priority for Arabian Adventures. We have our own fleet of vehicles, specialist drivers, and the highest possible safety standards and procedures in place that make our service very attractive to corporate bookers.
TTG: What can Abu Dhabi offer in terms of a variety of tourism proposals (leisure, culture, business, MICE, sport, heritage) to international travellers today?
Abu Dhabi is fast becoming the cultural hub of the UAE with the development of projects such as the Saadiyat Island bringing in huge internationally recognised institutions and museums.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a ‘must see’ in Abu Dhabi, with the ease of access and facilities provided on site by a very efficient Visitors Services team.
Sports facilities in the city have also gone from strength to strength with the Formula 1 and activities offered on Yas Marina, international tennis championships, golf tournaments and Ferrari World. The Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre continues to attract a strong number of business travellers throughout the year and a number of hotels and facilities have opened in the surrounding area to cater for this specific market.
TTG: What are your main feeder markets these days? Have you noticed any new markets coming to Abu Dhabi?
According to the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), Asia and the GCC remain as key market feeders for Abu Dhabi, each accounting for 31 per cent of guests travelling to the emirate. This is followed by other non-GCC Arab countries (22 per cent) and Europe (20 per cent).
Whilst corporate travel still contributes to a large part of tourism traffic to Abu Dhabi, the leisure sector is also increasing its share with markets such as Germany, the UK, Russia and China – all demonstrating important growth over the previous years.