By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter
ETIHAD AIRWAYS, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said it is hoping to attract more tourists to visit Abu Dhabi as part of its 15th anniversary celebration.
In an e-mail interview earlier this month, Etihad country manager in the Philippines Yarub Obaidalla said the airline wants to attract more visitors to the UAE capital and maintain the high demand for flights connecting to the Philippines.
“As we celebrate our 15th anniversary and refreshed our brand to ‘Choose Well,’ we would like to invite more guests to experience Etihad and the amount of choices available to personalize their experience. We are currently focusing on providing our guests with different choices and creating personalized experience for each of them,” Mr. Obaidalla said.
While the company doesn’t plan to increase the number of flights to the Philippines anytime soon, he said demand for flights to the country remains strong.
Etihad currently offers a total capacity of 1,648 seats in its twice daily flights between Manila and Abu Dhabi.
In its goal to attract more tourists from all over the world, Etihad’s destination management division Hala Abu Dhabi is arranging stopover trips in the emirate for passengers in long-haul flights.
“As part of this programme, guests receive free premium accommodation and can take advantage of 2 for 1 offers on sights and activities around the city… We want our guests to visit and experience our home,” Mr. Obaidalla said.
Other activities offered by Hala Abu Dhabi are golf stopovers and city stopovers.
“Abu Dhabi is a destination where style and sophistication are apparent everywhere. The city is home to world renowned attractions including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World, Yas Marina, the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and Warner Brothers World to name just a few. These world-leading initiatives are a great reason for guests to break their journey in Abu Dhabi,” Mr. Obaidalla added.
For visitors with a Philippine passport, a visa would be required to enter Abu Dhabi. But its government allows Etihad to arrange visas for visitors by filling out a form on its website. The airline will then send a soft copy of the visa through e-mail which can be printed and presented at the airport.
“With the support of Abu Dhabi airports, guests with an onward travel can avail a 48-hour visa to discover the unique city tours with Hala Holidays. This presents the opportunity for travellers to enjoy Abu Dhabi regardless of the short layover,” Mr. Obaidalla said.
He added, “Hala Holidays can curate an itinerary to experience all the beautiful attractions around Abu Dhabi. A short 6-hour stopover can be organized to include a visit to the recently opened Louvre and still leave you with ample chance to rest and refresh for your connecting flight.”