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Airlines join push to land more US tourists

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are stepping up their efforts to entice American tourists to the UAE.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are stepping up their efforts to entice American tourists to the UAE.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA) has taken over Times Square for four days in New York and stopover packages have been put together for passengers of Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline.

A total of 21,566 US nationals stayed in Abu Dhabi hotels and hotel apartments in the first quarter of the year, about the same number as the first three months of last year, the ADTCA says.

The authority's new office in the the famous Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue will aim to boost that number, says Mubarak Al Nuaimi, the international promotions manager at ADTCA.

"One of the main functions of the US office is to create leads with the many associations in the States to encourage them [to use] Abu Dhabi for annual conventions," Mr Al Nuaimi adds.

Etihad plans to increase the number of routes to the US from two to three, with the addition of Washington DC next March. Emirates also plans to start flights to the US capital this year.

As part of their strategies, the airlines are actively promoting stopovers among passengers passing through their hubs.

Last year Emirates introduced the Dubai Stopover package, which includes VIP escort through immigration and hotel transfers. It is available to premium and economy passengers on inbound and outbound legs.

"For the 460,000 Americans travelling through Dubai and beyond each year, the package offers hotel stays from as little as US$39 [Dh143] per person per night, and passengers can choose from a full range of hotels and apartments," said Jim Baxter, the vice president for Emirates, North America. Etihad, in partnership with American Airlines, is also encouraging passengers to break their journeys in the UAE, mainly through ticketing.

"The US is a key part of our global ambitions. Etihad Airways' current US destinations perform excellently, with high passenger volumes in economy and premium cabins," said James Hogan, the president and chief executive of Etihad.

gduncan@thenational.ae

dblack@thenational.ae

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