Abu Dhabi The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the emirate's tourism regulatory body, is currently designing a guideline for its hotel and tourism industry that is expected to improve services, Gulf News has learnt.

The tourism sector, which represents 1.2 per cent of Abu Dhabi's GDP and 4.3 per cent of employment, is gaining increasing importance in Abu Dhabi's development game plan as a business tourism destination, officials said yesterday.

Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, ADTA chairman, yesterday inaugurated the third Gulf Incentive and Business Travel Meet at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

ADTA yesterday announced Advantage Abu Dhabi (AAD) - an initiative to reinforce the emirate's position as a business travel destination.

"The AAD initiative is aimed at delivering new and significant MICE business to Abu Dhabi. The initiative solidly supports Abu Dhabi's overall development goals," he said.

"It represents our commitment to make a difference on the global business tourism scene, and backs our ambitions with the necessary resources at our disposal. It's also tangible evidence that this emirate, which has invested heavily in MICE infrastructure, is determined to deliver on its aim of becoming a world-class business tourism and events destination on a global scale."

Abu Dhabi is investing billions of dollars to expand infrastructure and develop tourism facilities that will double hotel and serviced apartment capacities.

While the massive investment is set to increase the inbound traffic, the government is determined to put regulations in place to ensure best practices.

The manual will consist of guidelines dealing with cleanliness and hygiene in hotel kitchens, rooms, lobbies, swimming pools, beaches, recreation areas and elsewhere to ensure hotel guests receive top-notch services, which the ADTA feels is a strong pillar in the tourism sector.

"Health and environment measures are vital across the hotel industry.

"For that reason 25 general managers across different hotels, six ADTA officials and an environment agency are involved in designing the manual, which focuses on cleanliness, good service and hygiene and which is due to be finalised by July 2009," Nasser S. Al Reyami, director of Tourism Standards Division at the ADTA, told Gulf News.

To help catalyse business events in alignment with the Abu Dhabi government ADTA will lead-arrange financial and/or non-fin-ancial resources to enable meeting planners, exhibition and conference organisers new business opportunities in 12 sectors.

Business event organisers with a viable proposal can apply to tap into the AAD initiative, which lists financial grants, governmental endorsement, leadership patronage, cost rebates and marketing support among its main levers.

Numbers : Tourism in Abu Dhabi

- More than 1.5 million guest arrivals reported in 2008

- 4 per cent annual growth in guests n Average occupancy rates in 2008 were at a very high of 84 per cent

- Just under 13,000 hotel and hotel apartment rooms on offer
n Abu Dhabi Airports Company to serve 20 million passengers by 2010.

- Source: ADTA