The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) hosted its first ever virtual roadshow in China from 8th – 9th December, connecting more than 100 Chinese tour operators and travel agencies.
With 37 partners and stakeholders, including Destination Management Companies (DMCs) from across the emirate, representatives from Etihad Airways, Yas island, and the emirate’s hotels and attractions.
The event followed on from DCT Abu Dhabi receiving the ‘Annual Strategic Partner’ award from leading Chinese travel service company, Ctrip, at the Global Partner Summit, which was held in October.
The first of its kind, Abu Dhabi’s ‘Virtual China Roadshow’ served to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s presence within the Chinese market by using technology to maintain connections with Chinese stakeholders and update them with destination-related information, as well as with initiatives to guarantee safety in the capital.
The event provided key tourism stakeholders in Abu Dhabi with guidance on how to approach the Chinese market in 2021, as well as opportunities to exchange knowledge, generate deals, and conduct virtual business meetings with their industry counterparts in China.
Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi said: “Despite the impact of the global pandemic on worldwide tourism, we continue to maintain close ties with our overseas partners through innovative initiatives such as the Virtual China Roadshow. China remains one of the priority markets for us in Abu Dhabi and one of our closest partners across many industries, not only tourism. Therefore, we are grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate this partnership with innovative industry initiatives that bring industry leaders from both destinations together to share knowledge and effectively plan for the future of tourism in our countries.”
The Global Partner Summit, in which Abu Dhabi participated in October – and was held by Ctrip, part of Trip.com, China’s leading tourism services provider – included an opening speech by Ali Obaid Ali Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to China.
It was one of the biggest tourism industry events in China this year, attracting more than 2,600 industry delegates and over 4.5 million online views. During the event, DCT Abu Dhabi was selected from more than 300 destinations globally to be awarded the ‘Annual Strategic Partner’ accolade by Ctrip.
Amanda Zhang, General Manager of Destination Marketing and Government Relations at Trip.com Group said: “Although the pandemic situation has temporarily delayed everyone’s pace of exploring the world together, the demand for travel will not disappear. Before the official opening of outbound tourism, destinations that can establish a good brand image in China in advance and impress consumers through various marketing methods will definitely be the go-to destination after the pandemic. We are looking forward to the opening of outbound tourism, so that more tourists can discover the extraordinary Abu Dhabi.”
In 2019, China ranked amongst the top tourism source markets for Abu Dhabi, as the emirate attracted almost 400,000 hotel guests from the People’s Republic during the year.
As part of its initiatives to maintain close ties with the Chinese market and position Abu Dhabi as a front-of-mind destination for Chinese travelers, DCT Abu Dhabi launched several dedicated initiatives for the Chinese market in 2020. These initiatives included partnerships with leading organizations including Ctrip, programmatic advertising campaigns, and exclusive virtual initiatives such as the China Roadshow and the ‘Colouring Book’ competition for Chinese audiences.
The momentum will continue with new programmes and initiatives set to be launched in 2021 targeting various segments.