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Abu Dhabi named Destination of the Year
November 22, 2011

Abu Dhabi has been named 'Golf Destination Of The Year Africa & Gulf States 2012' in the prestigious International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) awards, which sees over 380 specialised operators from 55 countries vote for the golf destinations viewed as the best performing by their clients. Abu Dhabi beat off competition from nine contenders, including five other shortlisted candidates Dubai, Kenya, Marrakesh in Morocco, Mauritius and the Western Cape in South Africa.

In voting for their preferred winners, operators judged against criteria including customer satisfaction, quality of golf courses and accommodation, value for money, professional conduct of suppliers, support from the local tourist industry and accessibility to tee times.

"This is a major fillip in our goal of strengthening Abu Dhabi's position as a preferred golfing destination - a niche and high-yielding tourism sector which has been prioritised in our product, promotional and industry collaboration strategies," said Dayne Lim, Product Development Director, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), who accepted the award on behalf of Abu Dhabi.

"The emirate's golf offering has come a long way in recent years and is now dynamic and diverse. It encompasses three championship-ready courses within a 25 kilometre radius; two of which have been listed in the world's top 100 courses by Golf World magazine. Abu Dhabi's wealth of playing options are a mix of parkland, ocean and links styles, a highly convenient downtown facility, a championship-standard 'browns' course and an all-grass country course in our heritage heartland of Al Ain. It means that tourists visiting the emirates can play a different style, with varying challenges, every day over a standard six-day break. We believe this diversity is giving us a significant competitive edge."

To mark Abu Dhabi's achievement, Matteo Manassero, the Italian prodigy who acts as a global golf ambassador for the emirate as part of a multi-year sponsorship deal with ADTA, recorded a special video message.

"Aside from the legendary Abu Dhabi hospitality that is now very well known on the European Tour, I decided to partner the emirate because I believe in the product; the quality and quantity of playing options really is second-to-none," said Manassero. "It is very rare that one place has such variation in course type. In fact, the only way you know you're in Abu Dhabi is when you look up and see the blue skies."

With the global golf tourism segment worth US$17 billion annually, according to IAGTO, Abu Dhabi's drive to capture a bigger slice of this lucrative market has been boosted by its new 'Golf in Abu Dhabi' initiative - an umbrella marketing communications, product packaging and distribution platform designed to optimise the emirate's golfing assets on both the domestic and international fronts.

Unveiled earlier this week at the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Turkey, 'Golf in Abu Dhabi' - developed in conjunction with the emirate's golf clubs and other relevant industry stakeholders - is a special-purpose vehicle to execute the emirate's golf tourism strategy, maximise revenue returns for related stakeholders and position the emirate in the minds of potential customers from primary source markets such as the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, China, Korea and Japan. With 'Golf in Abu Dhabi' actively engaging tour operators and local industry stakeholders to devise attractive, all-inclusive packages that can be marketed at selected international trade shows, a variety of launch packages are already available. Extended 'Golf Plus' products that incorporate various leisure and cultural activities in personalised, golf-centric itineraries will come online in coming months.

Accessible marketing collaterals that include exclusive 'Golf in Abu Dhabi' rates, as well as product information on the emirate's diverse facilities will also be produced and circulated through ADTA's global network of offices. The authority is also exploring options within IAGTO, including specific opportunities for prime brand and product positioning at forthcoming trade shows.

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