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Golf tourism surges in Abu Dhabi
Golf in Abu Dhabi is on the rise after official figures revealed a 49% increase in the number of overseas rounds played in 2013, as compared to 2012.
Abu Dhabi is now the favourite golf destination in the UAE, and it accounted for more than 30% of all rounds played in the region in the latter part of 2013.
The surge is partly attributed to the success of the 'Golf in Abu Dhabi' initiative - an umbrella marketing, communications and product distribution platform.
"With an international promotional campaign working in key markets, positioning the emirate's fluid and straightforward approach to business, there is reason to suggest numbers will continue on this upward trend," said Chris White, General Manager of Yas Links.
"We have benefitted from our collective approach generating awareness with international tour operators.
"Abu Dhabi has all the right ingredients to be a force to contend with in golf and that's why we're currently outperforming forecasted growth."
The number of golfing packages available to Abu Dhabi has increased significantly, and nearly 400 golf tour operators have been engaged.
Edward Terre, of Lotus Super Travel, which has increased sales to Abu Dhabi 200% from 2012 to 2013, said: "The appeal of leisure attractions to our clientell, who are keen to experience what the region has to offer beyond the fairways, plays a significant part in the booking criteria.
"Abu Dhabi has certainly burst onto the scene in some style."
Two of Abu Dhabi's stand-out resorts - Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club - have reported 94% and 56% year-on-year growth respectively.
An array of the world's top golfers are in Abu Dhabi this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, including Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Golf in Abu Dhabi ambassador Matteo Manassero.
"It's without doubt one of the world's finest golf destinations," said Manassero.
"People always ask me about what Abu Dhabi has to offer. I tell them it's where I spend my time practicing between events, because of the golf facilities and because of the hotels and relaxation it affords visitors.
"It is number one for me."
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