Record international inbound tourism growth for Abu Dhabi’s marquee golf resortsThe ownership at Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club can begin 2014 with a positive outlook. Not only is the 9th edition of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in town at Abu Dhabi Golf Club but statistics revealed today, show significant growth in international inbound tourism for both clubs. The announcement comes hot on the heels of news that Abu Dhabi has taken the crown as the favoured golf destination in the UAE, announced earlier by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has unveiled an unprecedented growth of 94% against the same period in 2013. Responding to questions about the secret to the courses success, Paul Booth, Director of Club Operations, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, was pragmatic in response, “We concentrate on what we can control, which is giving visitors the best experience possible. We are blessed with such a stunning location and Gary Player has created something truly unique, that we are fortunate to be able to promote such a strong property. With two superb hotels in The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas on site and a dedicated focus on bringing in international business, we feel we are on track and are already looking at how we can improve on 2013.”
Abu Dhabi Golf Club, famed for its iconic falcon-shaped club house, recorded gains of 56% YOY. Lasting images of the world’s greatest golfers competing for the coveted Falcon trophy, coupled with the recent introduction of the luxurious Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, has helped put the resort firmly on the map. The addition of the hotel ensures guests now enjoy the most convenient accommodation located metres from the first tee of both the Championship course and the hugely popular 9-hole night golf option. Designed by the vivacious Peter Harradine and managed by Troon Golf, the course continues to be presented in immaculate condition and is synonymous with the European Tour and the best players in the world.
“We have been monitoring performance through the year and knew we were tracking ahead of forecast. It is testament to the work we have been doing to capture the international inbound business that the end of year figures are so positive. Our hard work and strategic initiatives seem to be paying off and we need to continue in the same vein,” commented Scott McCaw, Director of Club Operations, Abu Dhabi Golf Club. “We have worked hard on our infrastructure and are lucky to have such well-appointed on site accommodation. On top of this we have a wide variety of off-site hotels, offering a diverse price point and the exposure we have seen through the championship and our own marketing efforts have put us in a great position to consider the next stages of the strategy.”
The considerable percentage gains compared to the same period for 2012 are no coincidence, as both clubs have regularly reported positive shifts in business, but this level is unprecedented. Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club have both been central to Golf in Abu Dhabi, the government driven tourism initiative, working across global golf trade shows using its in-house sales expertise and international knowledge to attracting consumers, and instil confidence with tour operators. “We really have a great team. Paul and Scott both keep delivering great numbers, founded on their ability to maintain the exceptional standards our members and guests have grown accustomed to,”
commented Chris Card, Group General Manager. “We have made some strategic appointments within our sales and marketing teams, engaging with international tour operators and have made concerted efforts to promote our product and experience as broadly as we can. The Troon network provides us with great insight into industry trends and the agronomy and operations head offices are always on hand to help us grow and sustain a prosperous business. We believe this is the start of things to come for Abu Dhabi as a leading international golf destination.”
A common thread between both courses is the fact they are operated by industry golf management leaders Troon Golf. Renowned for the company’s ability to present immaculate course conditioning and outstanding hospitality via its industry professionals, the business also brings strategic business direction to ensure golf clubs profitability. Appointed by TDIC in 2007, the company has played an integral role in delivering the vision for TDIC, TCA Abu Dhabi and the region as a whole.
“We cannot speak highly enough about the work Chris and his colleagues from Troon are doing,”
commented Shaun O’Connor, Chief Financial Officer, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), the dedicated tourism asset management and development arm of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), established to drive the investment, growth and development of the Emirate’s tourism sector. “Golf has become a great catalyst for Abu Dhabi to realise its tourism potential and to see the consistent growth and outstanding numbers from 2013 is gratifying to say the least. TDIC has been at the heart of developments at both clubs and it gives us great pride to see them realising their potential in such a short time frame. A huge thanks to all involved and we hope 2014 can be as successful as last year.”
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is now underway with Rory McIlroy taking on some of the best players in the world including US star Phil Mickleson, defending European #1, Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald and many more.