Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, the world’s largest facility of its kind and one of the main tourist attractions in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, has won the prestigious ‘Golden Tourism Award’ by the Madrid-headquartered Trade Leaders Club, a business organisation representing 7000 producers and service providers across 120 countries.
The award is in recognition of Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital’s outstanding leisure and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) tourism programme, which includes guided tours of the facility and the chance for visitors to try their hand at the noble art under expert guidance.
The award is to be presented to Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller, the hospital’s Director at a special ceremony to be held in Madrid later this month which will coincide with Abu Dhabi’s first participation in Spain’s FITUR travel fair. The ceremony is to be attended by representatives of the Spanish tourism industry, the countries diplomatic corps and media.
“We look upon this award as recognition of Abu Dhabi as an international destination of distinction and the role of tourism in fulfilling the Government’s 2030 Plan for the emirate,” said Dr. Muller.
The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has recently stepped up its MICE offering with the opening of the Shaheen Conference Centre which caters up to 200 delegates, or can be divided into smaller meetings rooms for around 60 people.
“We provide a unique setting for meetings planners who can stage events against the backdrop of an exciting facility which showcases the world of falcons and traces the practice of the sport from historic to modern times,” said Dr. Muller. “The Shaheen Centre is a superb meeting venue with free-flying falcons and a beautiful museum surrounded by lush gardens where delegates can relax. It is being successfully utilised for conferences, meetings, workshops, incentives and special events such as gala dinners.”
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which manages the tourism industry of Abu Dhabi emirate, is mounting its first destination pavilion at FITUR, which runs from January 20-24. It is being supported by various stakeholders including hotels and tour operators. The Falcon Hospital, which last year increased its visitor turnout by 68% on 2008, is looking to triple its visitor attendance in 2010 and believes Spanish guests will feature among them.
“We are looking to have new deals with Spanish tour operators, particularly after receiving this award,” said Dr. Muller “The Spanish market is new and important to us as we have received enquiries from the country.”
In the first nine months of last year some 4,662 Spanish nationals stayed in hotels throughout Abu Dhabi – a 33% increase on figures for the same period in 2008.
“The figures suggest Spain is a prime market waiting to be nurtured,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, International Promotions Manager, ADTA. “Given Spain’s historic links with the Middle East we believe we can activate substantial interest and convert this to business in the medium to long-term.”
In the photo: Dr Margit Gabriele Muller, Director of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (centre), who will travel to Madrid later this month to receive the 'Golden Tourism Award' for the hospital's outstanding leisure and MICE tourism programme.