Abu Dhabi Ambassadors receives new graduates
Abu Dhabi,10 June 2010: The Abu Dhabi Ambassador Programme’s ‘First Class of 2010′ - the largest intake in the series’ three-year history - has graduated in a special ceremony at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre after completing three months tourism training which has readied them to be the welcoming ‘face’ of the emirate.
Some 67 UAE nationals graduated from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) programme, receiving their certificates and recognition awards from HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, ADTA’s Chairman and HE Mohamed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
“This programme is important because it gives our visitor-facing representatives an essential understanding of the emirate’s tourism potential, capabilities and its role in Abu Dhabi’s economic and social advancement. It then empowers them with skills, knowledge and confidence to better promote and represent Abu Dhabi, its unique heritage and culture as well as our determination to preserve them,” said Sheikh Sultan.
“This emirate has an abiding ethos of extending hospitality to travellers and sharing our cultural heritage. What better way for these to be conveyed than by Emiratis? The result will be a much enhanced visitor engagement experience which in itself will engender a stronger competitive edge.”
Mohamed Al Bowardi described the programme as an educational catalyst which will assist Abu Dhabi’s long-term sustainability goals.
“Tourism is now delivering tangible economic and social benefits to this emirate and continues to develop. The industry is earmarked as a key economic contributor for the emirate in the 2030 plan and there is huge potential for UAE nationals to take play a defining role in achieving our goals,” His Excellency said.
“Through interaction with guests to the emirate, nationals can showcase their homeland and leave ever-lasting memories in the hearts of the visitors. By becoming a host, guide or ‘ambassador’, they have the platform to share their culture, their home and send positive messages about Abu Dhabi to the world. It is an opportunity, and a responsibility, which is now being increasingly taken up – a trend we find immensely encouraging.”
The Ambassadors programme - initially launched to assist the training of tourism and communications students of Zayed University - has been expanded to the emirate’s customer-facing public and private sectors following an instruction from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The programme, initially limited to one annual student intake, has this year been expanded to twice-yearly.
“The programme’s evolution says much about the way all sectors of our community are now embracing our Travellers Welcome promise,” said HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA. “The Abu Dhabi Ambassador alumni will expand annually and we hope that many of its university students will carve out careers in this emirate’s growing tourism industry, now ably supported by their colleagues and fellow graduates within other public and private sector stakeholder organisations.
“The programme is demonstrating, once again, this emirate’s inclusive approach to destination building and delivery of its brand commitment which Abu Dhabi Ambassadors are bringing to life.”
Representatives from 11 public and private sector organisations, and an individual volunteer, completed 12 tourism knowledge-sharing cultural scheme modules, covering issues such as business tourism, destination public relations, international business etiquette and protocol as well as environmental and sustainable tourism. The course also facilitated city tours of Abu Dhabi city and Al Ain and site visits to various attractions including Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace and an organic farm.
Graduates are from: the Office of the Brand (OBAD); Abu Dhabi Customs; Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage; Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry; ADTA; the Department of Economic Development; Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Police, the UAE Ministry of the Interior and Zayed University.
Eight of the graduates were named ‘Abu Dhabi Ambassador Stars’ for their outstanding course performance judged partly through a final examination. They will now each take part in an ADTA-sponsored tourism induction study trip to Hong Kong Polytechnic University - ranked second in the world for research and scholarly activities by the influential Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research. During their stay at the University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, the Star Ambassadors will study heritage and sustainable tourism programmes and enjoy field trips to the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Disneyland Hong Kong.
The class stars were: Jinan Al Madfai from OBAD; Majed Khalfan Al Badwawi of the Department of Economic Development; Aisha Al Ameer, Amna Al Zaabi, Mansour Al Marzouqi and Rabab Saif all of Etihad as well as Ayesha Al Hammadi and Maisoon Al Bakoush of Zayed University.
“We congratulate all of the graduates and believe their leadership in signing up for this course will inspire other UAE nationals to join the ever-swelling ranks of Abu Dhabi Ambassadors,” added Al Muhairi.
Enrolment for Abu Dhabi Ambassador’s ‘Second Class of 2010’ will begin after Ramadan with the course being run in the final quarter of the year.