Organisers want to encourage more Indians to consider the emirate as a holiday destination
Mumbai: The dedicated efforts of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, to increase the numbers of tourists from India, has got off to a promising start this evening when several hundred Mumbaikars witnessed the opening of the first “Abu Dhabi Week” in India.
The exposition, which will run from Friday to Sunday at Mumbai’s sprawling Metropolitan Region Development Authority grounds, will feature a collection of Abu Dhabi’s cultural and tourist attractions, which the organisers believe will encourage more Indians to consider the emirate as a holiday destination.
While addressing the media, members of the travel trade and distinguished invitees before declaring the opening of the weekend festival, Mubarak Al Nuaimi, Director of the Promotions and Overseas Offices of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, said that during the first eight months of 2017, Abu Dhabi had seen a 9 per cent increase in hotel occupancy by Indian guests.
A total of 223,000 guests from India stayed in hotels in Abu Dhabi for an average of 2.8 days during this period, he added.
In a pre-event statement reflecting the increasing potential of India for the Abu Dhabi tourism sector, Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, said: “India is a key tier-one priority for Abu Dhabi, and it represents our second-largest international source market for hotel guests.”
“Apart from positioning the emirate as a holiday destination, we will also underline the message that Abu Dhabi is an ideal business location for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, MICE, industry, with a superb selection of venues for delegations from India,” he added.
Several Indians who attended Friday’s inaugural ceremonies shared the views expressed by Ghobash. Om Prakash, Director of In Orbit Tours, and a veteran of Mumbai’s travel trade has been organising “incentive tours” to Abu Dhabi on behalf of corporate clients.
Top-performing dealers and agents from companies are sent to Abu Dhabi on all expense paid visits, as part of these incentive tours. However, Prakash added that more and more Indians are now approaching him to help plan their visit to Abu Dhabi, solely for pleasure, and he foresees a large growth in tourism from India to Abu Dhabi in the coming years.
Bejan Dinshaw, Country Manager in India for the Department of Culture and Tourism, shared Prakash’s observations and pointed out that more and more young Indians are currently opting to visit Abu Dhabi. “I foresee the Abu Dhabi Week will be an encouragement for tourism and trade between India and Abu Dhabi,” he added.
The festival in Mumbai will run for three days, and a similar event will be held in New Delhi early next month, prompting the organisers to call the cumulative event, “Abu Dhabi Week in India.”