Complex Made Simple

Abu DhabI to showcase destination credentials at Expo Milan

Six month visual and experiential push to highlight emirate’s food, nature and events

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is set to thrust Abu Dhabi’s diversity to the fore in an extensive destination promotion and awareness push at EXPO 2015 in Milan to build visibility for Abu Dhabi.

The destination activation, in partnership with Etihad Airways – the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and EXPO Milan 2015 Official Global Airline carrier in partnership with Alitalia – will be staged in the official Imagination Lounge of the Alitalia and Etihad Airways joint pavilion and feature three themed bespoke promotional activities to highlight the depth and breadth of the destination’s visitor experience opportunities.

Each theme will run for a week during the six-month Exposition, and will focus on experiential, visual and digital activities highlighting the identity of Abu Dhabi through Food & Culture; Dynamic Abu Dhabi, a focus on Abu Dhabi’s thriving events and business scene; and the emirate’s nature & sustainability credentials via a Natural Abu Dhabi theme.

“The eyes of the world will be on Milan during their hosting of EXPO2015 and with the United Arab Emirates taking up the mantle for the hosting of EXPO2020 we have a golden opportunity to project our vision of the emirate to a global audience and shape perceptions of our nation over the next six months,” said HE Jasem Al Darmaki, TCA Abu Dhabi Acting Director General.

“Through our partnership with Alitalia and Etihad Airways we can build awareness of our world-class hospitality and deliver experiential tourism activities to give a taste of Abu Dhabi through a series of engaging, stimulating and traditional activities,” he added.

“By identifying attributes of our destination through specific themes, we are able to highlight the quality of our tourism experiences and showcase the diversity of activities to engage with Expo visitors,” added Al Darmaki.

The identity of Abu Dhabi through food and culture will be featured in the expo’s opening week with celebrated Emirati chef and TCA Abu Dhabi culinary consultant Chef Khulood Atiq set to bring the tastes and smells of traditional Emirati hospitality, foods and spices to life through a series of cooking demonstrations and cultural sessions.

Unveiling the secrets of the Emirati kitchen, Chef Khulood will also introduce the importance of coffee and dates to Emirati hospitality and present Emirati coffee – or gahwa – to show visitors how the preparation, brewing and traditions of serving differ from international coffee.

Joining Chef Khulood in a unique collaboration to break down cultural barriers through the love of food will be Chef Rubio, the acclaimed and unorthodox host of Discovery Channel Italia’s DMax station’s street-food show to illustrate how production, consumption and conservation can help a chef creatively adapt traditions to match healthier dietary choices with modern lifestyles.

Together with up-and-coming Chef Badr Najeeb Badawi – the young Emirati TV chef and star of “Sukkar Zyadah” on Sama Dubai TV and “Ma’a Bader” on Abu Dhabi TV Al Emarat – visitors can expect a mix of traditional and contemporary culinary experiences reflecting the broad range of culinary experiences across the emirate. In addition, the trio of gastronomic artists will share their skills with an audience of Italian media.

“Our emphasis on food, culture, nature and events will be introduced to EXPO visitors with a touch of Italian flair, and will be supported by a selection of National Geographic destination videos specially commissioned for the event which we anticipate will generate interest in our range of world-class tourist experiences, natural landscapes, quality accommodation and attractions,” added Al Darmaki.

The five Abu Dhabi destination video vignettes – produced by National Geographic China – include tours of the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque and an exhilarating aerial Seawings seaplane safari of the nature adventure destination of Sir Bani Yas Island, and will feature daily in the Imagination Lounge.

“Our partnership with National Geographic means we have a selection of stunning visual references for use at EXPO2015, and also allows us to share this exciting new content with a vast and growing digital audience in China though an ongoing promotional partnership with our Beijing based promotional office,” added Al Darmaki.

Additionally, an on-stand digital photobooth will provide visitors a chance to receive on the spot images of themselves in an iconic #InAbuDhabi setting and share it directly on social media, and a dedicated zone featuring iPad-based quizzes and games developed around each of the promotional themes will also be available.

Engaging workshops will introduce the audience to Emirati handicrafts through hands-on opportunities to learn the ancient weaving art of ‘Telli’, and sand illustrator Shaima Al Mughairi will create live art designs inspired by the theme of food and culture.

Running until 31 October 2015, EXPO2015 is expected to attract 20million visitors from 140 countries, and is the precursor for Dubai’s 2020 hosting of the event. A series of promotional activities for the Dynamic Abu Dhabi: Events and Business focus and Natural Abu Dhabi: Nature & Sustainability will run in June and October.