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India swims into top spot for Abu Dhabi inbound
Shekhar Niyogi, India International Travel Mart, Bengaluru, July 31, 2013

INDIA has scooped first position as Abu Dhabi's largest source market, with trade players attributing this to the city tourism authority's promotion efforts.


According to data from Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), 80,179 Indian nationals stayed in Abu Dhabi’s hotels in 1H2013, a 22 per cent year-on-year rise, with the average Indian traveller staying 4.2 nights, a 17 per cent increase.


Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, TCA Abu Dhabi, explained: “We are benefiting from increased destination awareness in India following the opening of a dedicated promotions office there a year ago, and also from increased air access following Etihad Airways’ (acquisition of) a stake in Jet Airways, and the shift of the Indian carrier’s Middle East hub to Abu Dhabi.”


He added that 2H2013 would see an acceleration in arrivals with a number of high-profile events such as the 2013 Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix coming to the capital of the United Arab Emirates.


“What’s really encouraging is that guests are staying longer – which suggests our campaign to convince people that there’s now much more to do and see in Abu Dhabi is taking hold. We’ve broken through the three nights mark,” Al Muhairi shared.


Jaal Shah, managing director, Ahemedabad-based Travel Designers, said: “The Etihad-Jet Airways tie-up may have enhanced connectivity but TCA Abu Dhabi has marketed their multiple tourist attractions in India very well and packaged them effectively for Indian leisure and incentive travel.”


Meanwhile, Anshuman Mitra, managing director, Starlite DMC New Delhi, predicted 2013 would be a landmark year for Indian arrivals to Abu Dhabi. “Moreover, people who have already done Dubai a few times now want another comparable destination, which is now there for the taking.”


India pushed the UK, which sent 78,053 arrivals in 1H2013, to second place. Other key markets include Germany (62,488) and Russia (12,094).


From January to June, 1.3 million guests checked into Abu Dhabi’s hotels and the average number of nights stayed was 3.2, up 12 per cent from last year.


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