Australian travel agents bowled over by Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, March 18, 2013
More than 100 of Australia’s top travel agents were hosted by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) during their fact finding mission to Abu Dhabi as the emirate aims to boost its tourism market share from the Southern hemisphere.
The 120 agents, from retail travel agencies Australia-wide, are all top sellers of The Travel Corporation’s iconic travel brands, including Trafalgar Tours, Contiki Holidays, Insight Vacations and Creative Holidays, as well as Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia, which jointly arranged the mega familiarisation with TCA Abu Dhabi.
And the trip, which included tours of many of the emirate’s top leisure products, proved a success with the group, signaling an enhanced push by Australia’s top travel agents to increase emphasis on Abu Dhabi.
"It has certainly been a big eye opener for me to come to Abu Dhabi. The extent of things to do and quality of the facilities we’ve seen - the hotels, the infrastructure, roads, the wonderful relaxed attitude the local people have for the tourists – it’s really quite staggering," said Owen Torpy from Yarra Valley Travel in Victoria.
"The visit has been positive and added to my knowledge of the destination. I am confident that my clients will have a great time in Abu Dhabi and be warmly welcomed as I’ve been pretty much blown away by the fact that everyone is so enthusiastic that we’ve come here," she added.
Whilst in the emirate on the three-day trip, the group stayed at a range of Abu Dhabi’s finest hotels including the five-star, beachfront Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Le Méridien Hotel Abu Dhabi, Hilton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi.
They visited the UAE capital’s Corniche, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – just named one of the world’s most talked about attractions by TripAdvisor - the Mina Zayed date and fish markets, Heritage Village, Falcon Hospital and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest indoor theme park with the world’s fastest roller-coaster.
They also headed out into Abu Dhabi’s vast desert for a Sundowner Safari and dinner and rounded out the trip with a farewell dinner at the iconic Yas Viceroy Hotel, the only hotel in the world straddling an F1 race track.
"Abu Dhabi has exceeded my expectations and has changed my perception of what it offers for my clients. I actually came in here a little bit vague, not knowing quite what to expect, but I now have a whole different experience that I can relate to my clients," remarked Cameron Keith, the flight centre corrimal of New South Wales.
"I’m a lot more confident now that I’ve been here, and visiting the attractions and seeing the hotels will help me sell more effectively. The whole place has been amazing, but the desert dune safari experience has been a highlight my clients will certainly enjoy," she added.
Increased airlinks between Australia and Abu Dhabi have increased the number of Australians staying in the emirate, with Etihad Airways currently operating 28 flights a week from Australia, with departures from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane,and Virgin Australia operating three flights a week from Sydney.
Last year saw a five per cent increase in Australians staying in Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments over 2011, resulting in 36,659 guests accounting for 118,289 room nights – figures Creative Holidays’ national events and programmes manager, Belinda Herbert, believes could increase after the trip.
“Our objective is for the agents to experience the destination and take away their own personal highlights to help sell our Abu Dhabi product. The wide range of leisure experiences from the city to desert, Ferrari World and Yas Viceroy have been highlights for many, but exposure to the wide range of activities and attractions will help us grow the importance of the destination within our portfolio,” she stated.-TradeArabia News Service