Over 800 delegates thronged 64th annual congress meeting co-hosted by Etihad Airways, TCA Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: Over 800 leading German tourism players, who between them have a consumer base in the region of 6-8 million travellers, were in the UAE capital over the National Weekend holiday for the 64th Annual Congress of the German Travel Association (DRV).

The meeting was co-hosted by Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, and supported by Germany’s second largest carrier and strategic Etihad Airways’ partner – airberlin.

The congress featured some of the biggest names in the international travel business including CEOs and senior executives from tour operators and travel agencies of all sizes and service providers, including airlines, cruise lines and insurance companies. The congress was presided over by DRV’s new President, Norbert Fiebig and the new DRV Managing Director, Dirk Inger. More than 30 top German media representatives also travelled to Abu Dhabi to cover the event.

Welcoming the delegates to Abu Dhabi, Mubarak Al Shamisi, Director, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, a dedicated division of TCA Abu Dhabi, said Germany remains one of the emirate’s leading source markets for hotel guests and with increasing air links, upward momentum looks set to continue.

Al Shamisi said more Germans than ever are checking into Abu Dhabi’s hotels. “Germany is now our third largest overseas source market for hotel guests after India and the UK. In the first 10 months of this year 106,635 Germans stayed in our hotels and resorts — which was up 11% on last year. This all translated into 506,123 guest nights – which was a 9% year-on-year increase – with an average stay of 4.75 nights. Germans actually stay longer than most nationalities beaten only by Russians and Americans.

He added many of Abu Dhabi’s tourism providers are highly focussed on delivering tailored product for German guests. “You’ll find German speakers in most of our hotels and German speaking tour guides are now a norm. We have the beaches, the resorts of a standard that Germans appreciate – in fact everything here is now premium, except the price! The delegates and media attended a number of site workshops on major attractions including Yas Waterworld, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, an Abu Dhabi city tour and desert experience.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said, “Etihad Airways was delighted to welcome 800 of Germany’s leading travel professionals to Abu Dhabi for the DRV Congress.

“With Etihad Airways’ European headquarters in Berlin and strong offering with our network partner, airberlin, Germany is one of our most important markets and it was fantastic to have this unique opportunity to showcase our Abu Dhabi home to DRV members.

“Etihad Airways and airberlin offer direct flights from Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and now Stuttgart to Abu Dhabi which provides a platform for DRV members to sell the UAE, and everything this country has to offer, to their customers back in Germany.”