X-Z: Abu Dhabi hits the spot
Step aside London and Paris, Abu Dhabi is now one of the top global cities that Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z, prefer to live, work and do business in.
In the latest Ipsos City Index released in July, the results showed that these three younger generations see Abu Dhabi as a commercial destination of choice, with 21% of survey participants listing the destination as a top city to do business in. This is just 2% below the leader, New York.
“The results highlight the significant increase in the global perception of Abu Dhabi, not just as a tourism destination, but also as a prime business travel destination due to its innovative and diverse offering. With this said, the results also highlight the need for global cities to diversify and innovate to sustain their position and strength as both business and tourism hubs.” says Jean Martin, Country Manager for the Tourism and Culture Authority Abu Dhabi (TCA Abu Dhabi).
Let’s take a look at how up-and-coming Abu Dhabi is defining itself as a destination of choice for the younger generation business travel market:
Snap and share
When looking at Millennials and Generation Z specifically, social media is embedded in their DNA. They are the first generations to be brought up and in a way educated in a digitally connected world and they will want those Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat experiences to share.
And, of course, Abu Dhabi has a vast offering, if not never ending offering. Here are some top picks for to snap away:
Jebel Dhanna: Situated about two hours from the city centre, Jebel Dhanna has one of the most beautiful beaches where the fish swim right up to your feet. The area is further surrounded with great hotels, restaurants and cafes serving up some of the best food and drinks one can imagine.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: With its stunning architecture, culture and its exceptional detail photo opportunities are abound at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque is very photographer friendly and the best spot to show off your pearly whites with a 24-carat gold gilded chandelier above your head – say cheese!
Heritage Village: Located on the Breakwater, next to Marina Mall, Heritage Village is ideal for those modern day Mona Lisa inspired self-portraits. Although small, its convenient location offers a variety of backdrops ranging from farm, traditional buildings and Bedouin camps and city landscape.
Liwa: Just a two and a half hour ride from Abu Dhabi city, Liwa offers visitors the opportunity to capture the stunning sand dunes by day, and in the evening, the clear night sky.
Al Wathba: Al Wathba is less than an hour away from Abu Dhabi proper. This is one of the better areas to take some authentic camel portraits. There is a camel racetrack here and you can capture images of the camels themselves, caravans and groups of riders in the desert.
In the lap of luxury
There is a never-ending deluge of research and media articles on how different generations, and especially the younger generations are redefining what “luxury” means. Their luxury is not the same as older generations’ luxury of five-star hotel experiences and limo drives. These generations crave authenticity, singularity, and social value.
When travelling for business, these travellers crave one-of-a-kind experiences, incorporating elements like locally authentic cuisine as a reflection of culture, entertainment that reflects the sights and sounds of the destination, and excursions centered on local practices and customs.
Eat: Younger generations will love the opportunity to sample Emirati food at various restaurants including:
One of the UAE’s first restaurants to serve authentic Emirati cuisine, this is tucked away in the Al Dhafra Tourist Village near Mina Zayed Fish Market. It serves an array of salads, starters and traditional regional favourites.
Al Dhafra Dinner Cruise
A restaurant on a traditional dhow where the cruise offers great Corniche views. Upper deck seating is majlis-style with the lower deck seating around 50 people in air-conditioned comfort. Al Dhafra is renowned for serving a great range of local sweets.
Visitors will dine in true Emirati style at te Barasti-themed dining hall or on the palm-thatch covered terrace that runs along the restaurant at Arabian Nights Village – a heritage destination in the desert near Al Ain which gives visitors a chance to experience the mythical and timeless beauty of the desert and traditional Emirati life. Choose from dining tables, low sofas, or traditional cushion floor seating.
Entertain: Abu Dhabi is a well-ordered, industrious city with a pretty waterside location offering boundless opportunity to keep modern-day business travellers’ enthusiasm levels up:
Observation deck: Abu Dhabi's answer to Dubai's Burj Khalifa is this observation deck, offering skyline views from the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel, the highest point in the city. There is an entry fee for non-guests of the hotel, but the ticket price can be redeemed for food and drink from the observation deck's restaurant.
Yas Island: Yas Island is one of Abu Dhabi's top luxury hotel destinations, with stretches of sandy beach that are perfect for spending the day sunbathing on. This area is also home to the Yas Marina Circuit, which is where Abu Dhabi's Formula One racing takes place every year. The go-kart track and driving experiences on offer are a must for incentive trips.
Nightlife: From nightclubs to music, Abu Dhabi is a Millennial playground. Visitors can catch some live music performances at Amalfi Italian Restaurant or catch some Brazillian vibes at Chamas. Those looking to dance the night away should head to Skylite Rooftop Lounge at Yas Viceroy or the Belgian Beer Café that brings the best of Belgium straight to Abu Dhabi.
Shopping: From Yas Marina Mall to Al Wahda Mall, shopaholics will have no problem to spend their hard earned moolah.
Like nowhere else on earth…
Whether it is driving a Formula sports car at Ferrari World or cooling down at a waterpark, Abu Dhabi has some great options to consider:
The planet’s fastest roller coaster is here in the UAE at the Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi. Getting on the Formula Rossa is equal to sitting in an F1 cockpit as you get catapulted 52 metres into the sky before launching on to the fastest and best ride of your life time. The ride is inspired by the Grand Prix race tracks and there is no doubt that crossing the finish line will be a brain-addling moment.
Cycle around the Yas Island
Yas Island is a man-made island that offers exciting activities. A perfect way to explore the island is to do a guided tour, or rent a bike and cycle around it. Water fountains, rest places and proper bicycle signage dot the island.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara
Abu Dhabi's legendary Liwa Desert in the Empty Quarter, the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is a great spot for Millennials. The resort embraces the epic adventures of indigenous desert culture with renowned luxury.
Visitors to the resort can enjoy a scenic hike or enjoy a short camel ride surrounded by seemingly endless dunes. Those who like to stay active can test their aim with archery practice or exploring the desert and the culture aboard a fat bike. Scenic desert 4x safaris are another great way to explore the desert surrounds. The less adventurous can relax and enjoy a round of tennis or a workout at the fitness centre, relax at outdoor pool or in the Anantara spa.