Now that pandemic-era travel restrictions have been lifted, Abu Dhabi is positioning itself to compete on a larger scale globally. The new “Experience Abu Dhabi: Find Your Pace” campaign seeks to capitalize on growing travel demand by spotlighting the unique and diverse experiences the destination offers.
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Abu Dhabi recently announced the removal of all Covid-19 testing requirements, inviting visitors to discover everything the destination has to offer without having to register their vaccination status prior to arrival. In addition, visitors no longer need to show a “green pass” on the Al Hosn app to gain access to public facilities and attractions.
With travel restrictions lifted, and as the World Cup in Qatar puts the region in the global spotlight, Abu Dhabi launched a campaign to boost interest in the emirate as a well-rounded tourism destination that offers immersive cultural experiences and attractions that are seamlessly connected and available throughout the year.
To learn more about the key messages of Abu Dhabi’s new “Experience Abu Dhabi: Find Your Pace” campaign, its creative and distribution strategy, and how it fits into Abu Dhabi’s larger brand positioning, SkiftX spoke with Abdulla Yousuf, director of international operations at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
SkiftX: The global travel spotlight is on the Middle East right now. Why was it important to reveal a new destination marketing campaign at this particular moment?
Abdulla Yousuf: As we see tourism continue to grow in Abu Dhabi, our cultural offering, infrastructure, and entertainment attractions also continue to grow. Our new destination campaign shines a spotlight on the experiences that excite, inspire, and restore — encouraging visitors to discover Abu Dhabi throughout the whole year, at their own pace.
The campaign highlights authentic moments with a dynamic and varied events calendar that demonstrates the seamless connections between Abu Dhabi’s unique cultural attractions, back-to-nature moments, and exciting year-round experiences.
There truly is something for everyone to enjoy in Abu Dhabi, and now that travel restrictions have eased there’s never been a better time to visit.
SkiftX: What are the strategic pillars of the campaign and what kinds of experiences are tied to them?
Yousuf: The three pillars of the campaign showcase a variety of experiences that excite, inspire, and restore.
Visitors can find cultural inspiration throughout different periods of history. For example, we welcome everyone to explore the nation’s living memorial to Abu Dhabi’s history, Qasr Al Hosn, an 18th-century stone building in the heart of the city. It is also home to the House of Artisans, which celebrates Emirati heritage and our enduring tradition of craftsmanship. Within the same day, visitors can discover inspiring art and architecture at Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary.
We highlight back-to-nature moments that restore body and soul. This includes experiences such as stargazing and glamping at Jebel Hafit Desert Park, or walking the shaded oasis pathways in the garden city of Al Ain. Visitors can also enjoy the sun-kissed beaches of Saadiyat Island, take in wildlife safaris on Sir Bani Yas Island, and escape to the tranquil desert serenity of the Empty Quarter.
We offer excitement for everyone, all year round. The campaign highlights a variety of thrilling experiences, including dune buggy adventures and sand surfing excursions. Visitors can create memories to last a lifetime on Yas Island, home to the world’s largest indoor theme park, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. Minutes away, thrill seekers can discover the world-famous Yas Marina F1 Circuit racetrack, indoor adventures at CLYMB, and an array of theme park rides at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Looking ahead to 2023, music lovers have so much to get excited about, with performances by Andrea Bocelli, Post Malone, Imagine Dragons, Blackpink, Sting, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar, and Swedish House Mafia.
SkiftX: The campaign debuts a new look and feel across all channels and features new video and imagery. Can you tell us more about what is captured in these?
Yousuf: Launched in 12 source markets to invite visitors from across the world to discover everything that is on offer in Abu Dhabi, the 360-degree campaign is being promoted through immersive, experience-led videos, dynamic imagery, with a bold new look and feel for Abu Dhabi across social, digital, outdoor advertising, and print.
Abu Dhabi regularly conjures images of beautiful blue skies, powder-white beaches, and glittering skyscrapers, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This new destination campaign shows the variety of experiences that can be enjoyed in the UAE capital 365 days a year and just minutes apart. In Abu Dhabi there is something to suit all travelers’ passion points.
SkiftX: What does the new brand positioning say about your long-term vision for tourism in Abu Dhabi?
Yousuf: A fast-changing world has presented many challenges for the international tourism sector — however, we’re seeing positive signals that visitors will continue to return in growing numbers across multiple markets, and we have strong long-term projections on the future of tourism in Abu Dhabi.
There are many new and exciting attractions coming to Abu Dhabi in 2023, including SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Trail, and Snow Park on Reem Island, which will be the world’s largest indoor snow park. Further out on the horizon, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, teamLab Phenomena, and the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi will open in 2025.
We look forward to welcoming the world for many years to come.
Plan your visit to Abu Dhabi and discover the incredible experiences that await you.
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