Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Abu Dhabi plays host to tourism summit

Organisers hope for boost to capital's image as a holiday destination as influential global travel event comes to UAE for the first time.

ABU DHABI // The biggest event in the travel and tourism calendar kicks off in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, aiming to make the country a more attractive destination and to improve the sector worldwide.

Bill Clinton, the former US President, will give the keynote address at the World Travel and Tourism Council global summit, which will explore the impact of a growing population and changing world economy on the sector.

He will be speaking in his role as the founder of the William J Clinton Foundation, which aims to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods and protect the environment.

The two-day event brings together leaders in the field and features a host of celebrity speakers, including the British broadcaster Sir David Frost and the American actress Daryl Hannah, who is an environmental campaigner.

It has been organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), in collaboration with Etihad Airways.

Mubarak Al Muhairi, the director general of the authority, said he was delighted Abu Dhabi had been chosen to host this year's summit.

"This is the biggest annual gathering of international travel and tourism leaders, so it is a very significant forum," he said. "You will see from the calibre of speaker line-up - and the fact that the audience includes almost 1,000 attendees from 56 countries, including 235 chief executives and 10 tourism ministers - that this is a very weighty gathering indeed, and of a level where we can expect highly strategic input and debate."

The global travel industry is estimated to be worth more than US$6 trillion (Dh22tn) and employs more than 250 million people.

Abu Dhabi continues to build its own tourism sector, attracting 2.3 million hotel guests last year.

It is on schedule to meet its 2013 target of 2.5 million guests, with the city's occupancy rates in January and February up 5 per cent on last year.

Most visitors come to the capital on business but tourism chiefs are looking to increase the number of tourists and families who visit, and entice them to stay longer.

The summit will also tackle the issue of making tourism more eco-friendly and sustainable, as the environmental cost of international travel continues to mount.

"Sustainability in all its forms is most certainly a key issue on TCA Abu Dhabi's agenda and, indeed, is part of our vision and mission to deliver a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction," Mr Al Muhairi said.

The summit, at Etihad Towers on the Corniche, is open to invited industry guests only.

"We look forward to greatly impressing this influential audience with our distinctive Arabian hospitality, culture and heritage, and world-class infrastructure," Mr Al Muhairi said.

"We want them to be convinced of Abu Dhabi's tourism potential and to begin to promote the destination within their business circles - or, where links already exist, to spur the acceleration of our destination's promotion."

ksinclair@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

On our sixth birthday, today’s news told visually

Today in print, we are doing something different: we use only photos, graphics, illustrations and headlines to capture the news in a one-off collector’s edition.

 Rolling out the structure for the set. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Star Wars: Episode VII evidence in Abu Dhabi desert

After more than a week of speculation, The National has what are believed to be the first photos of a Star Wars shoot in the Abu Dhabi desert.

 Children walk past an Indian voter awareness mural in Mumbai ahead of the sixth phase of India’s national elections. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Inside India: Election, Promoting the Vote

A view of news and daily life on the Indian subcontinent for the week of April 10, 2014.

 INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - APRIL 16:  A general view of Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit on April 16, 2014 in Scotland. A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place on September 18, 2014.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Map of seperatist movements around the world

The conflict in Ukraine is a classic example of competing aspirations and identities – here’s a look at seperatist movements around the world.

 Hassan Abdullah, who goes by the name Abu Mahmoud, an Emirati fisherman, poses for a portrait at the Al Rughayalat Port. Abu Mahmoud was born and raised in Fujairah city and has been working as a fisherman since 1968. “I’m a shark man”, he says, “I was born in the sea.” Silvia Razgova / The National

In pictures: Fishing communities in the Northern Emirates

Fishermen in Fujairah and Umm Al Qaiwain worry that new regulations to protect fish stocks are harming their trade. We look at both communities through the lens of our photographers.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National