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Abu Dhabi Tourism Industry Boost For Home-Grown Products And Services
(28 April 2015)


Abu Dhabi's tourism industry is being encouraged to consider wider engagement with local entrepreneurs to boost the value of the emirate's tourism value chain as part of a new initiative introduced by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

Presented to a gathering of hotel general managers and procurement directors, the Authority's initiative is set to stimulate the value of the emirate's tourism sector in line with the government's vision of diversifying non-oil GDP industries aligned with the emirate's 2030 economic vision.

The introduction of a dedicated inward investment strategy will support the local economy and will encourage entrepreneurs to start their own tourism related SMEs and supply their goods and services to the hospitality industry, said Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director of Tourism at TCA Abu Dhabi.

In turn this will ensure domestic and international tourists receive a unique, authentic visitor experience, and by working with the public and private sectors will enhance and innovate key tourism offerings across Abu Dhabi and attract wider investment in the emirate's tourism supply chain.

There are countless opportunities for local SMEs or investors to offer their products and services to hotels – traditiional Emirati dates and coffee on arrival, a local chocolate on the pillow, Arabian perfumes and scented products in guest rooms, works by Emirati artists adorning walls and corridors, local artefacts and mementos in gift shops. These are all small touches which can create a lasting, visitor impression while benefiting local business,â€‌ added Al Dhaheri.

According to the 2012 World Travel and Tourism Council Tourism Satellite Account, the value of purchases by tourism providers within the emirate, including imported goods, reached AED 9 billion (US$ 2.64 billion).

The introduction of a programme of targeted investment underpins TCA Abu Dhabi's ongoing commitment to developing the tourism sector according to Omar Al Busaidy, Abu Dhabi Experience Development Unit Head. “Our fundamental aim is to encourage private sector involvement in the tourism sector and deliver an authentic experience to the benefits of residents and visitors alike.

Our initial priority is to see tangible results within the emirates hotel industry through providing unique, distinct products sourced though local goods and services. In turn, this will encourage Abu Dhabi-based SMEs to grow their businesses and become more competitive locally and internationally,added Al Busaidy.

Tourism investment is a critical component of a sustainable tourism sector and our aim is for local businesses to benefit more widely from the growing revenues from our booming tourism industry.

And many operators have already begun to see their investment in the sector bear fruit.

The introduction of specialised visitor experiences, such as the Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey - an authentic and informative visitor experience operating from the Eastern Mangroves Marina which highlights the emirate’s pearling past aboard a traditional Jalboot dhow - operated by Emirati-entrepreneur Ali Al Saloom, are now regularly featured in tour operator programmes and recommended by hotel concierge across the capital.

Authentic dining experiences such as Mezlai, the emirate’s first fine-dining Emirati restaurant, and  Al Fanar at the Ritz-Carlton Venetian Village - the UAE’s first and only restaurant offering traditional authentic Emirati cuisine – are now regularly sourcing locally-farmedd produce from the Abu Dhabi Farmers Services Centre, to the benefit of local farmers.

With a wide ranging remit in addition to promoting innovative solutions in tourism product offerings, TCA Abu Dhabi has its sights set on attracting and retaining foreign and domestic tourism sector investment.

The Authority's role in attracting tourism investment covers asset developers and service operators in a â€کtop-down, bottom-up approach, with both holding equal importance according to Al Busaidy.

“By providing detailed information to investors on the tourism sub-sectors which hold the greatest opportunity, and strengthening relationships with key Government and Government Related Entity partners, we hold an influential position in the development of the tourism sector.

We can also identify market opportunities to potential service operators, review their business and marketing plans and present them with information on relevant Government support programmes, such as the Khalifa Fund to help get their entities off the ground,he added.

The Authority's investment tourism strategy will be implemented by establishing tourism as a priority sector in Abu Dhabi's investment attraction mandate through the development of a wider investor outreach programme, and creating a powerful value proposition to position Abu Dhabi as a destination of choice for tourism investment.

Priority asset sectors identified by the new unit include hotels, theme parks, experience centres, museums, and dining, lifestyle and retail destinations as well as public spaces, camp sites and recreational centres.

On the service side, the food & beverage, retail, wellness, conference organisers, entertainment suppliers and leisure operators sector will also become a focus of attention, in addition to the hospitality industry.

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