New figures released this week by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority have shown that the emirate’s golf tourism offering grew by 49% in terms of the number of overseas rounds played in 2013 compared to 2012.
The figures, published as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship got underway, reaffirm the emirate’s status as one of the world’s most desirable golf destinations and validate Abu Dhabi’s strategy to deliver sustainable golf tourism via its Golf in Abu Dhabi initiative.
The latest figures also show the emirate’s dominance in the wider UAE framework as the runaway destination of choice. Total Abu Dhabi course rounds consistently contributed over 30% of all international rounds played in the UAE through the latter part of 2013.
The emirate's golf industry partially attributes the huge surge in overseas bookings to the runaway success of the ‘Golf in Abu Dhabi’ initiative - an umbrella marketing, communications, product packaging and distribution platform designed to increase the emirate’s penetration of the lucrative golf tourism segment.
“With an international promotional campaign working in key markets, positioning the emirate’s fluid and straightforward approach to business, there is reason to suggest numbers will continue on this upward trend,” said Chris White, general manager of the award-winning Yas Links course, pictured above.
“We have benefitted from our collective approach generating awareness with international tour operators. The feedback is consistently positive, which stems from sales agents having happy customers and experiencing strong enquiries with resulting package sales. As we have stated previously, Abu Dhabi has all the right ingredients to be a force to contend with in golf and that’s why we’re currently outperforming forecasted growth.”
"It is without doubt one of the world’s finest golf destinations" - Matteo Manassero
More packages are available than ever before, via select tour operators offering a wide variety of golfing experiences. Indeed, nearly 400 operators have been engaged.
“Abu Dhabi has made a lot of the right moves in positioning itself, but more importantly for us is the quality and simplicity in working relations that has helped the significant growth,” commented Edward Terre, Lotus Super Travel, one of the UK’s foremost premium golf travel specialists who has seen a major shift from its clientele, increasing sales 200% from 2012 to 2013.
“The appeal of leisure attractions to our clientele, who are keen to experience what the region has to offer beyond the fairways, plays a significant part in the booking criteria. Abu Dhabi has certainly burst onto the scene in some style.”
Italian sensation Matteo Manassero is amongst the many high-profile players competing in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this week and the four-time European Tour winner is in doubt as to what it is that makes the emirate such a popular place to play.
“It’s without doubt one of the world’s finest golf destinations,” said Manassero. “At every corner of the globe I travel for golf tournaments, I am inundated with people asking me about Abu Dhabi and what experiences are on offer. I tell them it’s where I spend my time practicing between events, because of the golf facilities and because of the hotels and relaxation it affords visitors. It is No.1 for me.”
Golf in Abu Dhabi - find out more
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