Abu Dhabi revisited for Business
The first time we visited, it was in 2004; at a time when the country was transforming itself from a small fishing village before the discovery of oil in the early 1960s into a metropolis which blends modernity and traditional Arabian culture. It was also the year when Abu Dhabi created its Tourism Authority.
Today, it has succeeded in putting the destination on the map and is aiming its visitors market to the sophisticated business traveller, who would like to enjoy the best in corporate incentives, host meetings in style and invest in the country. Abu Dhabi has grown very fast and is even more determined to promote tourism as well as encourage business and expatriate activity. As part of this approach, the country co-hosted Reed Travel Exhibitions’ second Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) from 8th to 10th April 2008 at its purpose-built National Exhibition Company Centre (ADNEC). The Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, opened the exhibition.
Highlights of an Exhibition with style
Etihad Airways, the exclusive airline partner for GIBTM arranged flights for all GIBTM participants. Executive Traveller kept a close eye on its Pear business class facilities and you will be pleased to know that the airline treats every passenger as a guest and offer a very personal service throughout your journey. The shell-style seats are very comfortable and whether for business or pleasure, you can sit back and enjoy all that goes into making a great flight. We would recommend that if you are travelling alone, book your seat early to have the option of a single shell because the style of the shared seats can feel a slightly ‘cosy’ with a stranger although very welcoming if you like a bit of company on your journey. All the seats in the Business class reclines 180 degrees into a fully flat, comfortable, 6 ft 1-inch Business Bed. They come with an 88-inch pitch and direct access to the aisle, and offer plenty of space and privacy. They are also equipped with individual lighting and a reading lamp together with a built-in massage facility to help you relax.
If in-flight entertainment is your thing, then you can enjoy 350 hours of world-class entertainment with advanced audio-video-on-demand system on 15-inch personal LCD screens. You can also use the Plug-and-Play feature to view your own videos; while the Audio Player lets you create your own playlists together with a wide range of interactive games will leave you spoilt for choice.
As for the service, you are assigned a dedicated in-flight host to make sure that you feel at home on your flight.
Developments in Abu Dhabi
To ensure that visitors and hosted buyers “Experience the Magic” of Abu Dhabi and the Emirates as a whole, the capital of the United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi pulled all the stops to make itself a perfect destination for meeting professionals and those involved in the industry.
Prior to GIBTM 2008, delegates were offered a tour of the new developments of Abu Dhabi including the iconic architectural landmarks being built on Saadiyat Island with a trip to the TDIC exhibition at the Emirates Palace. Abu Dhabi had plans for a world-class museum called the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The museum will be devoted to modern and contemporary. The museum is being designed by the internationally-acclaimed architect Frank Gehry. Another project is the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a micro city under one big dome, is designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.
After a sumptuous lunch hosted by one of the exclusive sponsors Beach Rotana Hotel & Towers, there was an organised visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque, still in its final stages of construction will be one of the largest in the world and is a truly an international piece of architecture.
Gardenia Real Estate Investment and Rotana, the leading Hotel Management Company in the Middle East, announced the signing of a partnership agreement for the management of a 5-star Hotel in Homs, Syria.
Zaya, a newly formed Abu-Dhabi-based real estate joint venture between Tasameem Real Estate and Assas, whose combined portfolio exceeds USD 15 billion, enters the high-end property market with a slate of private exclusive development projects. Its first project; Nurai, is an iconic resort development off the coast of Abu Dhabi, scheduled to be launched in May 2008. This new project will be led by a lady boss, Nadia Zaal, CEO and Co-founder of Zaya.
Dubai’s newest deluxe five- star hotel, The Monarch Dubai opened to deliver unrivalled personal service with inimitable style. The 33-storey hotel has 236 rooms, suites and serviced residences, with some of city’s most luxurious accommodation provided by The Monarch Suite, Sky Suite, two Presidential Suites; eight restaurants and lounges featuring European and Japanese cuisine with pride of place going to The Empire as The Monarch Dubai’s signature restaurant.
The dedicated Conference and Events floor has 13 meeting rooms and two boardrooms, an open-plan business centre, business offices and conference butlers offering the very best in personal service. Each room is named after a world famous diamond, the precious gem establishing once again the quality of service expected in each.
It was encouraging to notice that Europe had a strong presence at the show with new exhibitors such as Maison de la France, Tourism Ireland, Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, Czech Tourism and Visit Britain. Other new international exhibitors present for the first time include the Monarch Dubai, Barclay’s Group Travel a DMC from Tunisia, Argentina Travel Partners who are a DMC, Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau.
Graeme Barnett, Event Director said that the meetings industry in the region was booming and this was reflected at GIBTM.
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) in a bid to boost its destination, has launched a very popular Champions Programme with approximately 2,000 agents in the UK and Ireland signed up so far. The programme, which can be completed at the agents’ leisure, comprises six modules designed to increase knowledge base with a wide range of information on all aspects of Abu Dhabi; from its culture and history to practical everyday tourist tips. Each module will incorporate a test and, when all six are successfully completed, the Champion will be in a position to sell Abu Dhabi with confidence and authority, while at the same time enjoying a number of incentives and benefits.
The Grand Finale
The ADTA rounded-off the event with a three-hour gala dinner and entertainment party within the grounds of the Al Raha Beach Hotel. Invited guests included business travel and tourism industry professionals as well as decision-makers. Amidst the numerous opportunities for networking, there was live cooking and entertainment from renowned violinist and entertainer, Vanessa Mai, who performed a selection of her classical and pot hits on an impressive stage set on the beach front. The Al Raha Beach Hotel offers the ideal facilities for hosting large events.
Tempted to choose Abu Dhabi as your Business Events Destination? Learn the Lingo and know your do’s and don’ts in Abu Dhabi
English is widely spoken in Abu Dhabi but it is always good to have a few phrases on the tip of your tongue. They will help with negotiations and are a great way to create a favourable impression on your host.
Yes – Na’am
Peace be upon you (When greeting someone) – As-salaam alaykom
Reply – Wa alaykom salaam
Welcome – Ahlan wa sahlan
Welcome (in reply) – Ahlan bekum
God Willing – Inshallah
Slowly, slowly – Shway, shway
How much? (cost) – Bekam?
How many? – Kam
0 – sif
1 – waahad
2 – ithnayn
3 – thalatha
4 – araba’a
5 – khamsa
6 – sita
7 – saba’a
8 – thamaanya
9 – tiss’a
10 – ashara
100 – miya
1000 – alf
Drinking Alcohol in Abu Dhabi
It is possible to drink within hotels and other licensed complexes in Abu Dhabi. Licences are also granted at some major sporting and leisure events. alcohol is tolerated but you should refrain from appearing inebriated in public as there are penalties for drunken behaviour.
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