Abu Dhabi today unveiled its new ‘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.
The launch, spearheaded by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), came at the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Antalya, Turkey.
Developed in partnership with golf clubs and relevant stakeholders including hotels and destination management companies, ‘Golf in Abu Dhabi’ aims to up the emirate’s ante in the global golf tourism market estimated to be worth US$17billion annually, according to the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (IAGTO). Key source markets have been identified as the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, China, Korea and Japan, with golfing to be packaged as both a primary purpose of visit and/or as part of an overall engaging destination experience.
The vehicle, with its own unique promotional identity, web portal, trade distribution and consumer booking channels, kicks off with exclusive, highly attractive rates at three championship-ready courses – Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi Golf Club (ADGC) and Yas Links Golf Club – and bundles of ancillary add-ons, such as flights, hotels and the on-the-ground transportation.
“Abu Dhabi’s golf tourism potential is immense and our competitive positioning will be considerably sharpened through active inter-stakeholder collaborations. Golf in Abu Dhabi will ensure that all of our relevant stakeholders work towards a collective objective, which is capturing the emirate a bigger slice of the global gold tourism market,” said Dayne Lim, Product Development Director, ADTA, which manages the emirate’s overall tourism industry and owns the annual European PGA Tour-backed Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
“For the last six years, our now globally-recognised championship has put Abu Dhabi golf on the map,” said Lim, citing the event’s annual television audience of more than 400 million international viewers. “And far from simply praising the playing conditions and weather, the tournament’s field – always among the best in the world – leaves us every year extolling the traditional Arabian hospitality they experience. Our goal now is to entice the world’s amateur players by leveraging the destination’s diversity of playing options and our other, multi-faceted tourism assets.”
“In Yas Links and ADGC, we also have two courses that have been listed in Golf World magazine’s top 100 golf courses, while our multi-year sponsorship deal with Matteo Manassero – the Italian prodigy who acts as a global golf ambassador for the emirate – is reaping global dividends for Abu Dhabi,” added Lim.
Although the capital’s three championship-ready courses – all within a 25-miute radius of each other – are mainstay products driving the programme, ‘Golf in Abu Dhabi’ extends to all of the emirate’s playing facilities. Additional options include an idyllic 18-hole country course at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club in the emirate’s heritage heartland; a floodlit, nine-hole urban course at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club; and a unique 18-hole sand course at Al Ghazal Golf Club.
“Our dynamic and diverse offering goes beyond the capital’s intriguing mix of parkland, ocean and Links style championship courses. With half a dozen different playing experiences, tourists visiting the emirates can play a contrasting course, with varying challenges, every day over a standard six-day break. We believe this diversity is giving us a significant competitive edge.”
Abu Dhabi’s appeal to global golf tourists is strengthened by the destination’s price competitiveness as well. Average hotel room rates dropped 14% in the first nine months of this year compared to the first nine months of 2010 to stand at around US$130.
“We have some stunning properties and the highest standards of service in our ‘Golf in Abu Dhabi’ team will ensure any golf break is a great end-to-end experience,” said Lim.
To capitalise on the emirate’s heightened affordability, a variety of ‘Golf in Abu Dhabi’ launch packages are already available, with extended ‘Golf Plus’ products – incorporating various leisure and cultural activities in personalised, golf-centric itineraries – due to come online in coming months.