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Abu Dhabi 'offers a lot for Indian traveller'.

(Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 )

Abu Dhabi's tourism proposition is "exciting and exotic" and has much to offer to the Indian visitor, a leading travel trade official has said.

Iqbal Mulla, president of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), however, said competition for the Indian out-bound traveller is now increasing.

"Abu Dhabi has lots to offer from the Indian perspective particularly as Indians are sports lovers and you have a lot of sports events here. I could see many opportunities for the destination in the MICE field, for weddings and incentive tours though the real potential lies in offering two destination breaks Dubai and Abu Dhabi," he said.

The distance between these two destination is negligible and the offering is complementary, he said.

Indians usually travel on a 7-10 day break, so it would be ideal to package a stay in Dubai, which is almost a second home for Indians, with a few days in Abu Dhabi, said Iqbal.

His comments came as Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), in conjunction with Etihad Airways, hosted a 25-strong TAAI delegation on a familiarisation trip aimed at building awareness of Abu Dhabi among the Sub-continent's leading industry influencers.

During their stay, the delegation visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Monte Carlo Beach Club, The St.Regis and Park Hyatt on Saadiyat Island, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, numerous hotels, Marina Mall and sampled ADTA hospitality at the Volvo Ocean Race Destination Village before moving on to Qasr Al Sarab where it held its quarterly executive out-of-country meeting.

India is Abu Dhabi's third largest international market for hotel guests with an anticipated 25 per cent rise in hotel guests from the country in 2011 compared to 2010. ADTA is planning a four-city roadshow in India next month to be followed by participation in the SATTE travel trade fair in New Delhi.

"The destination road show, with stakeholders will take in Mumbai and Chennai again and for the first time will extend to Bangalore and Hyderabad, reflecting Etihad Airways' increased connectivity from India from where it operates 52 weekly flights from eight cities," said Dayne Lim, product development director, ADTA

"At SATTE we have increased the size of the Abu Dhabi pavilion by almost 70 percent due to stakeholder demand."

Abu Dhabi's SATTE pavilion will include representation from hoteliers, attractions and tour operators.

"We also plan to step up our B2C activities within India with some enhanced communications initiatives and perhaps a consumer road show across the country," added Lim. -- TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jan 17, 2012
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