UAE tourism ambassadors urge others to follow their lead
Graduates of the Abu Dhabi Ambassador Programme, designed to equip visitor-facing UAE nationals with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be the ‘welcoming face’ of emirate, are urging their compatriots to sign up for the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)-organised initiative.
Some 67 UAE nationals recently graduated from the programme’s ‘First Class of 2010’ - the third in the series – and have urged family, colleagues and friends to follow in their footsteps.
“The programme gave me the opportunity to serve my emirate in a practical way that reflects positively with tourists and helps improve Abu Dhabi’s reputation worldwide,” explained Najla Al Nahdi of Etihad Airways (pictured).
“Its content and syllabus enables the ambassadors to come into closer contact with the emirate’s culture and history.
“The programme provided in-depth knowledge of Abu Dhabi and I think all the youth should enrol in it to learn more about their emirate and develop skills and acquire lifelong knowledge.”
All the graduates 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 Al Ain wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR) and an organic farm.
Captain Abdulrahman Al Beriki of Abu Dhabi Tourism Police said the course helped him appreciate tourist sites and develop better communication skills.
“I always considered tourist sites as security locations. However, the programme taught me to appreciate the value of these sites and now as an Abu Dhabi Ambassador I can provide full information on various tourism topics to visitors, a skill that I did not have before,” he said.
“This course is beneficial to a lot of nationals working at various locations across Abu Dhabi as the tourism industry is expanding and touching different sectors of the economy from hospitality to transportation, leisure and entertainment, and trade and economy.”
Majed Khalfan Al Badwawi, a Trade Section Executive at the Department of Economic Development said the programme improved his knowledge of Abu Dhabi - information which has proved useful in his work.
“I meet a lot of foreign trade delegations and the information I acquired on the programme allows me to positively reflect Abu Dhabi and its expanding tourism industry and it is a great feeling to be able to offer valuable information about the emirate to visitors,” he said
Al Badwawi, who was selected as an ‘Abu Dhabi Ambassador Star’ along with seven of his colleagues for their outstanding programme performance, said he believed the ‘Ambassador’ initiative could have a far-reaching impact if more nationals were recruited into it.
“I think the programme should build on its success and expand to reach more UAE nationals to encourage them to enter the tourism sector and select it as a career path and play an active role in supporting the industry,” he concluded.
Abu Dhabi Ambassador graduates represented 11 entities: 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.
Enrolment for the Abu Dhabi Ambassador programme’s ‘Second Class of 2010 will begin after Ramadan with the course being conducted in the final quarter of the year.
ADTA’s Director Tourism Standards, Nasser Al Reyami said the authority was looking at further expanding the programme for 2011.