Abu Dhabi Tourism hosts virtual meeting on COVID-19 pandemic response

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) conducted virtual meetings with the emirate’s hotels and destination management companies (DMCs) last week to discuss challenges facing the sector caused by the current coronavirus pandemic. The meetings, which were led by HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi, were virtually attended by more than 100 representatives from Abu Dhabi’s hotels and representatives from several DMCs and was also a chance for DCT Abu Dhabi to thank stakeholders for their positive efforts and contributions so far in tackling the current unprecedented situation.

HE Al Shaiba shared the latest information available regarding the COVID-19 situation to the virtual attendees, and discussed methods of support and potential stimulus measures which could be used to assist the capital’s tourism sector, as well as industry partners and operators. He also expressed his appreciation of the coordinated efforts that have taken place so far across the sector in the emirate.

“Right now, it is extremely important that all organisations come together to bring solutions forward that will uplift our sector as a whole,” said HE Al Shaiba. “As leaders of the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi, our priority lies in ensuring all our partners and stakeholders receive the utmost support, in order to help revitalize the entire sector by the end of the year. These meetings allowed us the opportunity to draw attention to the key aspects that will help us achieve our tourism strategy for the coming period and ensure alignment with all our partners.

“The DMC meeting also gave us the opportunity to directly address the requests and concerns of our DMC partners, and to find new ways in which we can support the industry. We have presented several measures of support, which DCT Abu Dhabi has requested government approval on, including staff, utilities, and rent covers, working capital, and other non-financial issues as well. These are currently subject to approval and practical assessment by the Abu Dhabi government, as we continue to explore all possibilities to ensure that our stakeholders receive the necessary guidance and assistance during this period.”

During the meetings, which were also a chance for hotel representatives and DMCs to voice their concerns and highlight key issues, HE Al Shaiba also shared an overview of DCT Abu Dhabi’s already actioned plans, such as the Control Tower setup, which monitors and analyses the impact of the ongoing health crisis both locally and in source markets, in order to help inform future measures and other initiatives to support industry stakeholders.

Last month, DCT Abu Dhabi launched its #StayCurious campaign, a destination initiative designed to entertain and educate audiences worldwide during international lockdowns in order to raise the profile of Abu Dhabi as a standout destination. This was followed by the establishment of the ‘Abu Dhabi Specialists’ Program, an e-learning platform that aims to educate travel trade industry professionals across the world about the emirate through a series of online courses. These initiatives are part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s ongoing commitment to serving the local and global tourism sector through landmark measures and unique programm.

Also last month, the UAE government announced a series of support measures as part of the Ghadan 21 initiative, to help boost the economy and provide support to the private sector in light of the current situation.