Abu Dhabi offers Business Tourism (MICE) organisers a unique combination of benefits – the facilities and services of a leading international business centre coupled with the attractions and recreational possibilities of a luxurious tourist destination.
Hospitality is one of the most treasured values of Arab culture and visiting delegates will experience an authentic taste of Bedouin culture and heritage in a safe, clean environment. Abu Dhabi’s sporting and leisure facilities are world class and we are blessed with outstanding natural assets - beautiful beaches, spectacular desert scenery, 200 islands and endless sunshine.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority has identified Business Tourism as a key priority in our promotional activity. A vital aspect of our commitment to this sector is our close collaboration with private sector partners to build up, enhance and improve Abu Dhabi’s Business Tourism facilities, services and attractions on an on-going basis. There are a number of major investment projects planned and in the pipeline that we are confident that the next few years will see Abu Dhabi transformed into one of the top business tourism destinations in the world.
In developing our Business Tourism, we are keenly aware of the vital role of our overseas colleagues and partners. We are delighted by the growing interest and support we have received and look forward to working still more closely with you all in the months and years ahead.
Abu Dhabi Facts
- Capital city of the United Arab Emirates and largest of the country’s seven constituent emirates
- Government and political centre
- Oil reserves estimated to last 150 years
- 9.2% of world’s oil reserves and 4% of natural gas
- 200 natural islands
- 400km of coastline
- Multi-billion dollar tourism investment
- 85% of total area of UAE
- Boasts one of the world’s highest per capita GDP
- Almost year-round sunshine
Unique selling points
- Outstanding tourism facilities, venues and services
- Safe, clean, crime-free destination
- Dedication to hospitality and service
- Unspoilt desert, incredible dunes, rugged mountain scenery, lush oases and wildlife
- On-going commitment to enhancing tourism infrastructure
- Authentic taste of Arabian culture and heritage
- Luxury, good value accommodation
- Hotels and DMCs with creative MICE planning experience
Abu Dhabi’s culture is firmly rooted in Arabia’s Islamic traditions. Islam is more than a religion; it is a way of life that governs everyday events, from what to wear to what to eat and drink. The UAE’s culture and heritage is inextricably linked to its religion – and it is a shining example of Islam’s inherent commitment to tolerance and hospitality. Foreigners are free to practice their own religion and the dress code is liberal. Women are able to drive and walk around unescorted. Among the most highly prized virtues are courtesy and hospitality, and visitors will be charmed by the genuine friendliness of the people.
The speed of economic development over the last 30 years has, in many ways, changed life in the UAE beyond recognition. However, Abu Dhabi’s rulers, conscious of the threats to their traditions and heritage in the face of rapid development and increased international interaction, are keen to promote cultural and sporting events that celebrate their heritage, such as falconry, camel racing and traditional dhow sailing. The majority of new tourism developments have a strong cultural element in tribute to the country’s heritage. Arabic poetry, dances, songs and traditional art are encouraged, and weddings and celebrations are still colourful occasions of feasting and music.
Abu Dhabi’s strategic geographical location ensures easy access from the world’s major trade centres. It lies halfway between Tokyo and New York, with Europe, Africa and western Asia a short hop away. Business travellers can reach Abu Dhabi from London, Shanghai, Cape Town or Moscow within eight hours and the city is well served by international carriers. Etihad Airways, the award-winning, Abu Dhabi-based national airline, is expanding rapidly and has set an impeccably high standard of service and reliability having been named World’s Best Airline in the 2009 World Travel Awards. It will fly to 70 destinations by 2010. On the ground, Abu Dhabi benefits from a highly efficient road system. Journey time from the international airport to the main business district averages just 20 minutes.
Economy and Infrastructure
Abu Dhabi is a major global economic powerhouse and one of the world’s top oil producers. Its per capita GDP is the highest in the world. The emirate has entered a new era of economic liberalisation and modernisation that will transform it over the next decade into one of the world’s leading centres of excellence in tourism, culture, infrastructure development and across a wide spectrum of business and social activity. Abu Dhabi has an outstanding and ever-improving Business Tourism infrastructure. Its many world class hotels include the spectacular Emirates Palace, the best Arabian-style hotel in the region and dozens of other five-star properties with meeting facilities, as well as specialist venues such as the excellent conference and exhibition facilities of Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). This is a city made for business, and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority can put you in touch with an enthusiastic and professional business tourism industry. Equally important, Abu Dhabi provides excellent value for money. From taxi fares to accommodation costs, prices are highly competitive. The crime rate is virtually zero.
This is a destination with almost year-round sunshine, little rainfall and near perfect winter temperatures. Abu Dhabi has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Sunny blue skies and high temperatures can be expected most of the year. Rainfall is sporadic, falling mainly in winter (November to March) and averaging 12cm per year in most of the emirate. Rain is more common in Al Ain – the oasis city in the eastern region, due to its proximity to the dramatic Hajjar mountains.
Temperatures range from a low of around 13°C (50°F), on a winter’s night, to a high of around 42°C (118°F), on a summer’s day. The cooler months, November to April, are the most pleasant time to visit, when temperatures are around 24°C (75°F) during the day and 13°C (56°F) at night.
There are occasional sandstorms, when the wind whips the sand off the desert. This is not to be confused with a shamal, a north-westerly wind that comes off the Arabian Gulf and can cool temperatures. Sandstorms cover everything left outside in gardens or balconies and can even blow inside.
Thick fog occasionally sets in on winter mornings, but is invariably burnt off by mid-morning. Humidity can be intense in summer, making it feel far hotter than it actually is in July, August and September.
Abu Dhabi has many superb modern shopping centres offering exceptionally good value on both regional specialities and top international brands. Its spacious air conditioned malls feature a wide selection of shops complemented by food courts and entertainment centres. The world’s best known brands are all available and, thanks to Abu Dhabi’s tax free economy, are typically priced more competitively than in other major cities. In contrast to the malls, Abu Dhabi’s souks offer a taste of traditional commerce and plenty of opportunities for bargaining! Popular buys include gold, jewellery, rugs and souvenirs ranging from oud perfumes and shisha pipes to carpets to khanjar daggers.
Golf, Sports and Activities
The emirate is emerging as a world-class golfing destination, and annually hosts the PGA European Tour season opener the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Other magnificent 18-hole championship-ready facilities include the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, designed by golfing legend Gary Player, which is the Arabian Gulf’s first and only ‘ocean’ course with several beachfront holes. The course is to feature a clubhouse designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the name behind Saadiyat Island’s planned Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum concept. On the west shores of Yas Island, home to Abu Dhabi’s F1 circuit, the Yas Links Abu Dhabi Golf Course is the region’s first true links golf course. Designed by Kyle Phillips, one of the world’s leading golf course designers, the course is in line with the traditional form of links golf commonly associated to the coastal towns of Scotland and Ireland
Those interested in a quick game in the city need look no further than the 9-hole Abu Dhabi City Golf Club in the Al Mushrif area, only minutes from the hustle and bustle of the city.
And in Al Ain, the Palm Sports Resort boasts an 18-hole all-grass golf course in a unique setting under the shadow of Jebel Hafeet – the emirate’s highest peak.
Desert adventures, including 4x4 safaris, dune bashing, hot-air ballooning and sand-skiing make for memorable visitor experiences, while the warm waters of the Gulf are perfect for jet-skiing, fishing, sailing and diving. Speedboat tours or the coastline are on offer as is cycling along the Corniche or kayaking in mangrove reserves. Or visitors can simply enjoy a cool drink while soaking up the sun by the poolside or on the beach.
While recognizing the success of the oil sector, Abu Dhabi is working hard to reduce its hydrocarbons reliance and broaden the emirate’s economy. Investment in infrastructure, tourism, transport, health and education is ongoing and in line with the government’s 2030 urban plan.
Tourism is playing an integral role in the emirate’s economic development with 2.3 million hotel guests targeted by 2012. Major investment in new luxury resorts, business centre hotels and major leisure attractions is underway.
Abu Dhabi is building a destination of distinction centred around its natural heritage of over 200 islands, more than 400 kilometres of pristine coastline, tranquil oases, modern cityscapes, rocky, mountain-like heights, and awe-inspiring deserts. It is also preserving and leveraging its rich cultural heritage so that visitors can share in a centuries-old history, the many traditions of which continue until this day. This means visitors can experience former palaces, forts, one of the world’s largest mosques, renovated oases, desert camps, falconry and the famed hospitality of Arabia’s desert tribes. Abu Dhabi’s attractions are as diverse as its scenery and an emirate-wide commitment to environmental protection and sustainability will ensure its natural assets are conserved for the present and future.
The emirate’s tourism industry is managed, regulated and promoted by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). The authority has created a unique hotel and hotel apartment classification scheme which ensures visitors’ accommodation expectations are met, it also certifies and trains tourist guides so that visitors can receive memorable and informative experiences. Abu Dhabi is also bursting with major events which are now spread emirates-wide with many being initiated, and organised, by ADTA. These range from an international aerobatics show, a PGA golf tournament, a desert rally, gourmet food festival, international triathlon and summer-long family carnival. Enquiries about ADTA’s services and events can be made by calling toll free 800 555.
Hospitality lies at the heart of Arab culture. Just as desert tribes would once offer food and shelter to strangers, visitors today will experience an unmatched welcome, from the traditional serving of Arabic coffee to an absolute dedication to the highest standards of modern service. Part of Abu Dhabi’s unique charm is the blend of ancient and modern. Traditions, some of them little changed from the 19th century, co-exist with a 21st century economy and lifestyle. Old world courtesies still prevail and traditional culture is very much alive. Visitors can see craftsmen demonstrating ancient skills or experience camel riding, falconry, ayallah dancing, henna painting and learn about other age-old customs from local people eager to share their traditions.
Developing at a considered and sustainable rate while keeping a watchful eye on its past, Abu Dhabi is a destination of distinction with engaging heritage attractions and pursuits backed up by touches of über-luxury.
A relatively short time ago, Abu Dhabi emirate was little more than empty desert inhabited by nomadic desert tribes, with a sprinkling of villages around the more fertile, oasis areas. The economy was based around pearl diving, fishing and date palm cultivation. Abu Dhabi city ( meaning ‘Father of the Gazelle’ in Arabic), was founded when a gazelle led a wandering tribe to fresh water on an island originally consisting of 200 to 300 palm (barasti) huts, a few coral buildings and the Ruler’s Fort. It is hard to reconcile the modern emirate, and the high rise capital city of the United Arab Emirates, with its undeveloped simplicity captured on photos from the 1950s.
The discovery of oil in 1958 brought about a radical change to the emirate and its population. Oil and gas revenue was wisely invested and brought about a complete turnaround in Abu Dhabi’s fortunes. Thanks to this new found wealth and the strong leadership of the late UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi became a thriving, modern city, and an expanding emirate, with an infrastructure built virtually from scratch.