|By K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News, Jeddah,
Saudi ArabiaMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 03, 2010--JEDDAH -- Saudi Arabia, currently ranked as the eighth most productive hotel guest market for Abu Dhabi, has shown a significant increase in the emirate's hotel guests in the first half of 2010. The Kingdom, the largest market in the GCC, has accounted for 18,601 guests in the first five months of this year in the emirate's 116 hotels and hotel apartments -- a rise of 29 percent over the same period last year, according to Dayne Lim, product development director, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). "We are convinced we can significantly build on this performance over the coming months."
Abu Dhabi's current hotel guest profile has an 80/20 business/leisure ratio with ADTA officials including Iman Khouri and Mubarak Hamad Al Shamisi saying at a road show organized by ADTA at Moevenpick Hotel on Saturday night that the equation should head toward a more balanced demographic of 60/40 by the end of 2012.
Abu Dhabi Consul General Ahmed Mangoosh remarked that the flow of Saudis to the emirate had been maintaining an increasing trend and this augured well for the bilateral ties that are exceptionally strong.
Abu Dhabi, tipped by leading travel guides Lonely Planet and Frommer's as a top 10 destination to visit this year, is upping its leisure tourism proposition as it readies to open Ferrari World Abu Dhabi -- claimed to be the world's largest indoor theme park -- just ahead of November's staging of the second Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
A delegation from the destination -- which is on track to exceed its 2010 target of 1.65 million hotel guests, a 10 percent rise on last year -- was in Jeddah to outline its advancing leisure tourism proposition to the travel trade and media.
"We're looking to do business with leisure operators and will offer more incentives to them to create innovative packages which will encapsulate these headline events," said Lim.
Abu Dhabi has strong air links with Saudi Arabia with Etihad flying to Abu Dhabi International Airport daily from both Riyadh and Jeddah, Manager Serag Odin said.
Abu Dhabi's leisure offering has been boosted this year by the opening of two 18-hole championship-ready golf courses. The Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, on the signature Saadiyat Island, is the Arabian Gulf's only "ocean" course, designed by Gary Player. Yas Links, on Yas Island was designed by Kyle Phillips and has eight holes running along the coastline with all 18 holes having fabulous Arabian Gulf views.
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Copyright (c) 2010, Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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