100 graduate from Abu Dhabi programme
Abu Dhabi, January 7, 2013
A hundred Emiratis, employed in more than 44 organisations in the UAE public and private sectors have graduated from the latest Abu Dhabi Ambassador programme – the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) initiative.
Launched in 2008, the programme was started to enhance customer-facing interaction between nationals and visitors.
The graduation ceremony, which was held at the five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, marked the certification of the class of 2012, selected after individual assessment of students who underwent the three months curriculum, a statement from TCA said.
The graduation takes the overall programme alumni to 277 with the class of 2012 representing the finance, education, media, oil & gas, telecommunications, governmental, defence, healthcare, transport, investment, real estate, motorsport, sports, culture and tourism sectors.
The ambassadors were presented with certificates and gold medals.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman, TCA Abu Dhabi, said: “The graduates had joined a programme that had grown organically in line with Abu Dhabi as a culture and tourism destination.”
“The programme has come a long way since its relatively small beginnings as a joint venture with Reed Exhibitions and Zayed University to provide informed guides for visitors to the annual GIBTM business tourism fair.”
“Its reach has since been significantly expanded with many of its graduates over the years now in challenging and satisfying careers throughout our vibrant tourism sector, some within the TCA Abu Dhabi workforce.”
The Abu Dhabi Ambassador programme, which last year was part-sponsored by Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) has been a key component of TCA Abu Dhabi’s Emiratisation programme and central to the authority’s desire to improve the visitor experience through interaction with locals.
“By becoming a host guide – an ‘ambassador’ – these qualified UAE nationals promote the emirate’s rich culture and heritage to visitors and tourists and leave them with positive memories and impressions of Abu Dhabi and its people,” said Nasser Al Reyami, tourism standards director, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“The programme also increases awareness of Abu Dhabi’s expanding tourism offering among the ambassador ranks through visits to various heritage, cultural and tourist attractions across the entire emirate.”
The 2012 programme included new ‘Ambassador’ modules chosen based on participants’ feedback. Twelve modules were featured in total – three more than 2011 – which covered cross cultural understanding, leadership & management and Abu Dhabi past, present & future.
Last year also saw a change in the assessment procedure. “Assessment was on an individual, rather than a group, basis,” said Mohammmed Al Marzouqi, senior Emiratisation executive, TCA Abu Dhabi.
At the graduation ceremony, part sponsored by the five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and corporate luxury gift provider Prism, seven ‘Ambassadors’ were awarded for their stand-out stellar performances, the statement said.
All seven have been given a trip to the nature-based Sir Bani Yas Island including flights to and from the Al Gharbia getaway and accommodation at the five-star boutique Desert Islands Resort & Spa.
Another 100 would-be Ambassadors will be selected for the 2013 programme from 600 applicants, all of which will be individually interviewed for their suitability.
“This is the fastest response programme we have ever had,” said Al Marzouqi. “It would seem the programme has now really captured the Emirati imagination and that opening it up to the private sector has stimulated demand.”
Also new for 2013 is the allocation of 10 places in the programme for disabled Emiratis.
“Facilities for the disabled are increasingly being built into our tourism infrastructure but it will be excellent to have feedback from those who need to use them. At the same time, the tourism industry is opening up career opportunities for the disabled and we want to encourage them to look at this sector for future advancement,” said Al Marzouqi.
In addition, 2013 will see two dedicated ‘fast-track’ programmes – one aimed at educating local personalities from the arts and media sector on the destination, the second targeting immigration personnel, the statement said.
“These intensive induction courses – one lasting a week, the other two weeks – have been designed after approaches from both sectors who want to play their role in spreading awareness of the destination,” Al Marzouqi concluded. – TradeArabia News Service
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