ABU DHABI, After another successful year for tourism in Abu Dhabi, which saw a 5 percent year-over-year increase of American visitors, the country's capital made a compelling case at this year's New York Times Travel Show about why American visitors should make 2020 the year they visit Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi's participation in the travel show was organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism � Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) in partnership with Etihad Airways, the UAE's national carrier.

A dedicated panel discussion was hosted to shed light on Abu Dhabi's offerings, led by Saeed Al Saeed, Destination Marketing Director at DCT Abu Dhabi, who was joined by Sumathi Ramanathan, Director � Destination Marketing for Expo 2020 Dubai, Shinez Chalabi, Industry Manager for Google, and Amanda Leung, Business Development Director for Etihad Airways. The panel was moderated by Michael Luongo, recognised travel writer of The New York Times.

"We believe, having the opportunity to share our story with the tremendous audience at last year's New York Times Travel Show helped contribute to our incredibly successful 2019, which is why we came back and were excited to share our plans for 2020. From one of the world's largest indoor theme parks and Louvre Abu Dhabi to our captivating cultural treasures and calendar of world-class events, this year also includes the incredible Expo 2020, which the UAE capital will play a key role in. Abu Dhabi is a destination that embraces the modern world whilst celebrating its rich traditions. It is an exhilarating place ripe for today's curious traveller, and we are proud to be able to showcase that through our partnership with the New York Times," Ali Al Shaiba, Acting Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi, said.

Speaking at a panel about travel to the Middle East, on Friday, Al Saeed told industry professionals that customisation of the tourism product was key to attracting American visitors. "Through the intentional creation of distinct districts, such as Yas Island � our destination within a destination for family fun and Saadiyat Island, the world's largest single concentration of premier cultural assets including Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi - we are creating highly personalised experiential opportunities that deeply resonate with audiences, from cultural explorers to multi-generational families," Saeed said.

Saeed said that the destination has been working with Google to deliver customised messaging reflecting the destination's offering to niche audiences and that the approach was effective. As a result, Google searches for Abu Dhabi by Americans have seen a yearly increase of 13 percent, reaching a total of four million searches.

Saeed also highlighted the high level of safety and premium standards of hospitality in Abu Dhabi. "Abu Dhabi is incredibly safe, and our visitors often remark on how easy and relaxing it is to navigate the city without any worries," he said.

All attendees of the travel show had the opportunity to participate in a digital activation to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways, The Abu Dhabi EDITION, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi. This year, the show was visited by 34,015 attendees including 11,041 travel professional, 1,134 media representatives, 22,974 consumers, and 700 plus exhibiting companies from over 176 countries.

Source: Emirates News Agency