16 Dec 2013 10:00

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today signed a three year deal with VisitBritain to increase visitor numbers from the lucrative Asia Pacific and Middle East (APME) region, whilst encouraging more people to fly with Etihad Airways. 

The partnership agreement, valued at £2 million (AED 12 million), will facilitate joint marketing activities in key markets around the APME region, including India, Australia, and the GCC.

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the airline’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi were Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, and Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain.

“This partnership underlines the long-standing links between Etihad Airways and Britain and will help to create even greater opportunities to increase the growing number of tourists and business travellers flying to the country with us,” said Mr Baumgartner.

“Britain is one of our top destinations and we have shown an ongoing and far reaching commitment across our sponsorships and key business partnerships since we first started flying to Heathrow just five months after the launch of Etihad Airways a decade ago.”

Etihad Airways marketing messages and Britain’s ‘GREAT’ campaign will be maximised throughout the partnership and the airline will also benefit from an enhanced presence on all VisitBritain digital platforms, including VisitBritain.com and associated websites.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain, added: “Such a high spending and lucrative region requires a highly ambitious and exciting campaign. We’ve invested heavily in Britain’s profile across the APME region, including the UAE, so now is the time to launch robust tactical marketing - with partners such as Etihad Airways - to turn that attention into bookings.”

There will be an equal focus from both organisations on Etihad Airways’ gateways to Britain. Using its three-times-a-day service to London Heathrow and twice daily flights to Manchester, as well as regions served by its codeshare partners, Etihad Airways has a strong customer base in the UAE, and throughout the APME region, to drive business and tourism links to Britain.

Research from the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed in 2012 there were over 1.8 million visits from the key markets of Australia, India and the GCC, over 40% more than a decade ago. Visitors from these regions spent over £2.5 billion in the UK, 107% higher than the amount in 2002 (in nominal terms).

The number of visits from the UAE alone has doubled in the past decade, and although 45 per cent of visits and 62 per cent of spend accrue in London, visitors from the UAE are more likely to be travelling on multi-city trips. More than seven in 10 leisure visits from the UAE also include time spent shopping, and in particular there is a significant appetite for dedicated shopping holidays that give access to brands not available in the UAE, such as Harrods.

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