Abu Dhabi is stepping up efforts to attract Italians to visit the emirate following its similar tourism campaigns in Britain as well as Germany.
Next month the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority will lead an eight-member delegation to the TTG Incontri tourism fair in Italy.
The authority, which has a representative office in Milan, is using the Italian golf star Matteo Manassero, Abu Dhabi’s global golf ambassador, to promote the emirate.
DMC Kurban Tours,a member of the delegation and a unit of the Lebanon-based Kurban Group,will offer travel packages to Abu Dhabi.
According to the authority, 25,621 Italians stayed in the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments in the first seven months of this year, an increase of 23 per cent from the same period last year.
Italian tourists spent an average of five nights in Abu Dhabi, compared with just three nights for tourists of other nationalities.
Manav Fernandez, the chief operating officer of Dubai-based marketing firm Insignia, said the relatively longer stay of Italian tourists made Italy an attractive market, even though the country is not among the top five tourism markets for Abu Dhabi.
“The global market is changing with the slowdown of the euro zone and the emergence of Bric [Brazil, Russia, India and China] countries. It is important not only for hotels but destination brands to start focusing on key markets,” Mr Fernandez said.
India, Britain and Germany are the top three tourism markets for the emirate.
Mubarak Al Nuaimi, the director of overseas offices and promotions at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said: “If we can persuade the Italian trade of the sheer breadth of the emirate’s expanded offering, we are confident of building the length of stay upwards to seven nights.
“With excellent air uplift from Italy – with Etihad flying five [times] daily from Milan to Abu Dhabi and Alitalia operating five flights a week from Rome, there is great growth potential.”
In the first seven months of this year, a record 1.5 million tourists visited Abu Dhabi.