Abu Dhabi embarks on Globe-Trotting Grand Prix promotion

WAM Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is gearing up for a globe-trotting summer promotional tour designed to heighten international footfall at this November’s Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Held in conjunction with Yas Marina Circuit, the venue for the November 2-4 mega spectacle, and Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national carrier and the event’s headline sponsor, the promotional tour will span seven countries – all of which are currently among Abu Dhabi’s top 20 international source markets for the first five months of the year: the UK (1), Germany (3), Saudi Arabia (6), France (8), China (13), Australia (15) and Russia (20).

“Historically, one-in-five Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ticket-buyers have been non-UAE residents,” said Nick McElwee, Director of Sales ‘&’ Marketing, Yas Marina Circuit. “This year, as part of collective efforts with key stakeholders to further build the event’s international profile, we have evolved our sales strategy to encompass wider destination marketing alongside generic race promotion.” Having ignited activations in Lorient, France, and Galway, Ireland, to coincide with the final two Volvo Ocean Race stopovers, the destination-themed tour also leverages motorsport-specific events, such as last week’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone (July 6-8).

Plans are already in place to encompass several key Abu Dhabi sport sponsorships and dovetail a host of global events, including next week’s Moscow City Racing festival in Russia, as well as Manchester City Football Club’s summer tour of Asia, for which TCA Abu Dhabi is the headline sponsor.

The English Premier League champions’ Far East tour involves a mouth-watering clash against domestic rivals, Arsenal, at the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, China, on July 27, before a match against a Malaysian Allstars XI in Kuala Lumpur three days later. China currently ranks as Abu Dhabi’s 13th largest international source market and TCA Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit and Etihad Airways, City’s principal sponsors, will collectively utilise significant brand placement opportunities to promote the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Elsewhere, a range of awareness-driving competitions across print and radio platforms will reward winners from key and regional markets with trips for two – including return flights with Etihad Airways and five-star accommodation – to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Etihad Airways is proud to fly to the flag around the world for the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and we are delighted to support our colleagues at TCA Abu Dhabi on this exciting tour.

“Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi are associated with many fantastic sporting teams and events, including Manchester City FC, the Volvo Ocean Race, and, of course, the Formula 1. We are certain that the competitions and promotional activities will be a huge success.” Another push involves attention-grabbing on-the-ground activations – such as destination pavilions and F1 simulator time trials – at areas of significant consumer traffic, such as the UK’s Westfields shopping centre from August 10-12, when the eyes of the world will be on London for the end of this summer’s Olympic Games.

To ensure no stone is left unturned, a direct-selling assault via strategic partnerships with key in-market tour operators will launch across all markets throughout summer.

“Our collective strategy to boost international sales for this year’s Grand Prix is based on casting our net further and earlier than ever before,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi. “By taking the event to proven source markets we are strategically upping the ante in territories with well-established track records in generating strong inbound traffic to Abu Dhabi.” WAM/AM