After having successfully hosted the recently held TAAI Convention, Abu Dhabi is likely to gain more prominence among the outbound. TF speaks with Bejan Dinshaw, Country Manager-India, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority to understand latest trends and more.
What is the larger tourism profile of Abu Dhabi? What is its USP as a destination?
Abu Dhabi as our tag line says- Your extraordinary story begins now; has a different story for each one of us. The destination caters to all age groups and has fun filled activities for everyone. Abu Dhabi explains the term affordable luxury, as travellers can experience the luxury which the destination entails at a reasonable price.
What are your key source markets in India and how has the enhanced air- connectivity with the Jet-Etihad tie up helped in augmenting numbers?
All tier-1 cities were and will always remain our main source markets in India. But lately, we have now seen a new trend of moneyed travellers emerging from tier-2 cities travelling overseas. These cities hold great potential for outbound travellers who want to travel the world now. Keeping this in mind, the Etihad- Jet group is now entering into this market with their new upcoming flights from Chandigarh and Tiruchirappalli. The outbound traffic from these cities has been seen increasing two fold.
How big is tier-2 cities for you, in terms of numbers, and which regions or states would be core of your outreach in 2017?
This year we are paying more attention to the tier-2 cities. As mentioned above, these cities hold great potential. There are no specific regions per say, but all the cities hold equivalent importance for us. In order to keep in touch with the local agents, we have scheduled our road shows in February which will be covering Lucknow, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi.
How has cinema tourism panned out for Abu Dhabi? Has the government incentivized cinema production or shooting in the country? What is attracting Indian film makers to Abu Dhabi?
Abu Dhabi is an emerging destination for cinema tourism. Our destination has not only seen Bollywood sector but also Hollywood interested for their movie locations. In order to cater to this field of tourism, Abu Dhabi has two authorities- The Film Commission & Two Four 54, which looks at the potential films to be shot in Abu Dhabi. Big names like Fast & Furious 7, Star wars: The Force Awakens, Mission Impossible, Dabangg, Airlift, etc. have been shot in Abu Dhabi.
Niche Segments like weddings has gained traction among the Indian outbound, especially in the Middle East. How much of it has been tapped by Abu Dhabi, and how important is it in the larger tourism offerings of Abu Dhabi?
Abu Dhabi has been seen as an upcoming destination for weddings. Abu Dhabi being about 3 hrs away from India endures luxurious hotels with comfort. With an option of 300 flights per week by Jet & Etihad group flying from 15 cities across India makes our destination all the more approachable. With in numerous options to shop and for gourmet, Abu Dhabi is the next big destination for overseas wedding option. It’s a unique mix of culture, modernity, history and nature wondering in and around the city. Guests not only have wide range of shopping options, but they can also explore city’s museums and art galleries and walk to the heritage village. If you think of a real royal wedding, Abu Dhabi is definitely the best option. Imagine getting ready within the golden walls of Emirates Palace and walk under Swarovski chandeliers on your big day. You also have other options like Park Hyatt at Saadiyat Island, Ritz Carlton, Shangri La and more.