Complex Made Simple

TCA Abu Dhabi/Etihad Airways expand travel trade programme

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, are expanding their successful Access Abu Dhabi trade engagement programme to five new markets this year – taking the campaign’s outreach to 10 countries across four continents.

The year-long campaign has already notched up considerable success with hotel guest booking hikes from its initial target markets of Germany, the UK, Russia, India and Australia. Now, for 2014, the programme will reach out to potential partners in China, France, Italy, Brazil and the USA.

“During its first year of operation Access Abu Dhabi progressed 38 destination co-marketing initiatives, undertook 10 destination familiarisation trips for 755 travel agents, 250 free, independent traveller agents and their staff and completed successful partner engagement missions in our initial target markets,” explained HE Jasem Al Darmaki, Deputy Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.

“We have experienced strong results – particularly from Germany and the UK – with a significant increase in the length of a guest stay emerging through packages sold by our travel and tour operator partners. The programme was an influencing factor for last year’s record hotel performance when arrivals reached2.8 million and guest nights rose 26% to 8.8 million. We anticipate a similar influencing pattern for our 2014 target of 3.1 million guests and guest night uplift of 10% year-on-year compounded growth.”

Access Abu Dhabi’s 2014 campaign has taken off in earnest with its dedicated team having already completed a partner recruitment drive in Italy and France with more to come.

“We are delighted with the success of the Abu Dhabi trade engagement programme and we are excited to collaborate with TCA once again and build on its success,” said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer.

“We have already started engaging top tour operators in Italy and France and will start similar missions in the USA, specifically targeting New York and Los Angeles, our latest destination in the US. In South America, we will focus on Brazil to coincide with Sao Paolo’s promotion as a rising Latin American destination at the World Travel Market Latin America in April of this year.”

The Access Abu Dhabi team is also looking into a tailored version of its programme to address the specific needs of the GCC market.

“We anticipate having some in place within the next few months which will deliver bespoke solutions for this important market on our doorstep,” added Al Darmaki.