Many Abu Dhabi mall operators have complained of falling footfall and revenues. Silvia Razgova / The National
Many Abu Dhabi mall operators have complained of falling footfall and revenues. Silvia Razgova / The National

TCA Abu Dhabi forms leisure and retail committee to discuss collaboration



In a bid to increase footfall and revenues at malls in the emirate, the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has brought the leisure and retail sectors together to collaborate on marketing and promotion efforts.

The Industry Development Committee (IDC) for Events & Retail has been formed, which includes stakeholders from the two industries, a press release yesterday from TCA Abu Dhabi said, without disclosing the group’s membership.

Its first meeting was held at the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi and included “leaders from Abu Dhabi’s major retail malls, leading event organisers and venue management groups along with local government entities”.

The committee will now meet regularly, TCA Abu Dhabi said.

Across the UAE the retail sector has come under pressure from macro factors such as low energy prices inhibiting government spending; job losses creating negative consumer sentiment and a strong dollar making the country an expensive destination for many of its source tourist markets.

Bassam Saleh, marketing manager for Bawadi Mall, said the committee was a good idea.

“We all need to be on the same page with regard to discounts and promotions so we increase footfall and encourage people to spend more. That is very important.

“Any coordination will be helpful and will hopefully drive footfall,” said Mr Saleh.

He said the first quarter of 2017 had been similar to the first three months of last year, when many mall operators complained of falling footfall and revenues.

However, the committee’s impact was not likely to be felt until later in the year.

“All mall operators make their plans for events and activities in November or December, that is when we need the coordination, not in April,” he said.

With a nearly 30 per cent share of Dubai’s GDP and retail sales turnover expected to surpass US$52 billion by 2020, according to Euromonitor International, the emirate launched its Retail Calender on the opening day of its Shopping Festival last year.

The calendar is marketed internationally, showcasing the full programme of retail activities being conducted and promoted at a city level including shopping-related festivals, promotions and seasonal offer periods, mega-sales and clearance events.

Abu Dhabi received more than 4.4 million visitors last year, an increase of 8 per cent over 2015. This year TCA Abu Dhabi has forecast 4.9 million visitors to the emirate, a year-on-year rise of 11 per cent. In the first two months of this year, visitor numbers are up 5.5 per cent year-on-year to 749,650, TCA Abu Dhabi said.

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