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Changing travel patterns offer new opportunities to capture demand, but destinations need to adapt their marketing accordingly. With Abu Dhabi’s new ‘One Summer Isn’t Enough’ campaign, the destination is transforming the UAE’s largest emirate into a year-round destination.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

As the Middle East continues to gain prominence as a global tourism hub, destinations in the region are thinking creatively about how to attract visitors throughout the entire year. This is increasingly important as travel patterns shift — whether due to the rise of blended travel or the work from anywhere phenomenon.  

Abu Dhabi is leaning into this trend with its ‘One Summer Isn’t Enough’ campaign showcasing the breadth of experiences available in the destination, even during off-peak season. 

SkiftX spoke to Abdulla Yousuf, director of international operations, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), to explore the strategic goals of Abu Dhabi’s new campaign, what marketing tactics the campaign is deploying, and how experiential events are driving visitation.

SkiftX: This is the second year Abu Dhabi is highlighting its summer offerings with a dedicated marketing campaign. What is behind this strategic focus? 

Abdulla Yousuf: Given the variety of memorable experiences that have been developed across Abu Dhabi, it was the ideal time to highlight the diverse range of attractions — available for all types of travelers — that are all seamlessly connected and available throughout the summer months. 

The 360-degree campaign is launching in 12 markets, including Europe, China, India, the U.S., Israel, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. It targets regional, and international travelers in search of compelling and authentic experiences. We want them to know that summer in Abu Dhabi offers something for everyone to enjoy at their own pace, whether they’re looking for experiences that inspire, excite, or restore.

Travelers can immerse themselves in Abu Dhabi’s rich tapestry of history and culture, exploring its 23 enchanting locations — including the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, the presidential palace of Qasr Al Watan, and Qasr Al Hosn, the city’s oldest standing structure — and discovering its fascinating stories.

Alternatively, those looking for adventure can reach new heights at one of Abu Dhabi’s theme parks including Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Couples can also escape to the private and secluded desert island retreat of Nurai Island, just 15 minutes away by boat, or enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime meal at one of Abu Dhabi’s recently awarded Michelin-starred restaurants.

SkiftX: As travel patterns shift, how is Abu Dhabi adapting its marketing tactics? 

Yousuf: Global travelers have their eyes on the Middle East, so now is the perfect time to share Abu Dhabi with the world. This year’s campaign builds on our new destination campaign launch and is focused not only on promoting Abu Dhabi to those who haven’t visited the destination yet but also to those that have visited, encouraging them to visit again to experience more of the destination. 

With incredible promotions and offers, we are offering amazing value for stays in Abu Dhabi. Travelers can take advantage of an exclusive, limited-time deal that allows them to ‘stay more and pay less’ for trips booked between four to seven nights. Valid from May 1 to Sept. 30, travelers can opt for a getaway that’s nestled in the city, select gorgeous resorts surrounded by turquoise waters, or book a family escape for the kids to enjoy — all at an amazing value.  

SkiftX: The UAE was one of the first countries permitted to welcome outbound tour groups from mainland China this year. Is the return of this important traveler impacting Abu Dhabi’s marketing focus? 

Yousuf: China is a considered one of the key source markets for Abu Dhabi, and we have been proactively preparing to welcome back an increasing number of visitors now that travel restrictions have eased. We have witnessed a remarkable growth in booking activity from the Chinese market, with nearly 20 times as many bookings as last year. We are optimistic that the total volume of visitors from China will soon rebound to 2019 numbers.

Abu Dhabi is fully committed to rebounding in the Chinese market through various local activities, campaigns, partnerships, and industry events. To achieve this goal, DCT has organized sales events in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou featuring key Abu Dhabi stakeholders, including the Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Etihad Airways, and Miral, which operates a diverse portfolio of immersive experiences and attractions in Abu Dhabi. More than 200 travel agencies and tourism partners have also participated in these events. 

Moreover, Abu Dhabi’s social activity across various platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin has been helping to raise awareness amongst the Chinese audience and position Abu Dhabi as a top leisure destination for Chinese travelers. These platforms will play a vital role in the upcoming summer campaign, which will target Chinese travelers and encourage them to visit Abu Dhabi during the peak holiday period now that travel has reopened.

SkiftX: What kinds of family-friendly attractions and experiences are available in Abu Dhabi? 

Yousuf: Abu Dhabi caters to families with a wide array of age-appropriate attractions and experiences that cater to different interests. Kids and adults can explore the educational and interactive exhibitions at the Children’s Museum within the Louvre Abu Dhabi or participate in hands-on science experiments at the Al Mahara Educational Center. The National Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Middle East, offers an immersive journey through diverse aquatic environments, providing an unforgettable experience for the entire family. For adrenaline-pumping fun, Al Qana’s Adrenark Adventure offers an exciting indoor obstacle course that challenges physical and mental skills, making for a great family bonding activity. 

More family fun can be found at the Yas Island theme parks, including Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which offer thrilling rides and entertainment for all ages. The city also boasts numerous family-friendly hotels and resorts with dedicated kids’ clubs, ensuring a memorable stay for everyone.

SkiftX: How does this campaign help Abu Dhabi stay top of mind for travelers in an increasingly competitive regional market? 

Yousuf: The region is increasingly competitive, and we recognize the need to showcase what makes Abu Dhabi unique and distinct. Our goal is to provide visitors with a wide variety of attractions and experiences that are both conveniently located and accessible all year round.

Through our ‘One Summer Isn’t Enough’ campaign, we challenge misconceptions about Abu Dhabi during the summer season and reposition the emirate as a year-round cultural and tourism destination. We aim to educate potential visitors about the abundance of activities that can be enjoyed in Abu Dhabi, beyond its well-known landmarks, attractions, hotels, and restaurants.

Our campaign is based on the understanding that modern travelers seek authentic, immersive experiences that allow them to forge deep connections with the destinations they visit. They desire a mix of cultural exploration, relaxation, and adventure and are always looking for destinations that cater to their evolving preferences.

To provide a more authentic and immersive view of Abu Dhabi, we showcase experiences that are both diverse and seamlessly connected, appealing to a broad spectrum of demographics. Our 360-degree campaign is shared across 12 primary markets and promoted through immersive videos and dynamic imagery on social, digital, PR, outdoor advertising, and print.

With its diverse range of experiences and unbeatable summer offers, there’s never been a better time to discover Abu Dhabi. Travelers worldwide can start planning their unforgettable adventure today and see why one summer isn’t enough in this captivating emirate.

This content was created collaboratively by Abu Dhabi and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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Tags: blended travel, SkiftX Showcase: Destinations, summer travel, tourism, travel marketing

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