TTME December 2017_Pg 6

Abu Dhabi expects 60% rise in Baltic visitors

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi welcomed the launch of airBaltic’s programme to operate direct flights from Abu Dhabi to Riga in Latvia. As part of the initiative, four-weekly flights between the two cities will operate for five months until March 24, 2018.

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The four-weekly flights between the two cities will provide Baltic visitors from Tallinn, Estonia and Vilnius, Lithuania a more convenient opportunity to travel to Abu Dhabi. This programme is a result of Abu Dhabi’s ongoing promotional efforts in the Baltic markets focused on positioning the Emirate as a leading tourism and business hub in the region.
Over the past years, the Emirate has witnessed a strong upsurge in travellers from the Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, with an increase of 25 per cent in the number of visitors in 2016 compared to 2014. Recognising the potential for further growth, the Department of Culture and Tourism–Abu Dhabi carried out a series of educational activities including Fam trips, sales calls, and seminars for trade agents in each of the Baltic markets. With airBaltic, a leading regional air carrier with vast regional routes, and its new programme, visitor numbers are expected to rise by up to 60 per cent this year, and overnight guests to grow by 100 per cent.
Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism Sector, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said, “Over the past year, we have developed a carefully thought out strategy focused on identifying key tourism markets that do not yet have direct links to Abu Dhabi, and implementing a plan targeted at showcasing the benefits of our capital to private sector players there. We are thrilled that due to our efforts, companies like airBaltic are seeing the value we have to offer as a tourism and business destination, and are independently directing plans that connect the UAE capital to more markets around the world.”
Visitors from the three Baltic countries also benefit from a visa-on-arrival policy, in addition to a codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways, which will give them unparalleled access to countries around the world. “By including the capital’s national carrier in the new programme, Abu Dhabi can also become the gateway for our Baltic guests to travel to many other countries in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Australia,” added Al Dhaheri.
Commenting on the launch of its latest destination, Wolfgang Reuss, SVP Network Management, airBaltic, said, “Riga is a dynamic city and the very business center of the Baltic states. We are thrilled to connect Riga and Abu Dhabi as it opens up connections not only to Latvia but also to our wider home region, the Baltic states with Tallinn and Vilnius as well as Northern Scandinavia with fast connections to Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo and many more regional points in Northern Europe.”

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