The German Travel Association (DRV) will hold its 64th Annual Congress in Abu Dhabi next year – the first time the major gathering, which attracts around 1,000 key German tour operators and travel agents, will convene in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) capital.

Taking place from 19 – 21 November 2014, the three-day congress will be hosted by UAE flag carrier Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), with the host location being the beautiful Saadiyat Island.  The event is also being supported by Germany’s second largest carrier and strategic partner of Etihad Airways – airberlin.

Hosting the congress in Abu Dhabi will help to positively showcase the emirate, its city and the two supporting airlines in the minds of senior German travel industry executives.

Hans-Gustav Koch, Chief Executive Officer of DRV, said:  “Abu Dhabi is an emerging emirate that is becoming increasingly important as a leisure and business travel destination, especially for Germans. I am sure that we, as an industry association, by organising our annual meeting in Abu Dhabi will make a contribution to bringing the emirate into even sharper focus among German travellers and that the number of visitors from our country as a result will increase.”

News of the 2014 Congress moving to Abu Dhabi comes as the latest TCA Abu Dhabi figures show more Germans than ever are choosing to stay in the emirate.  Germany now ranks as Abu Dhabi’s third largest overseas source market for hotel guests with some 96,802 staying in the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments last year – a rise of 43 per cent on 2011. German hotel guests last year accounted for 445,327 guest nights in Abu Dhabi – an increase of 40 per cent on 2011 – with the average stay being 4.6 nights.

His Excellency Jasem Al Darmaki, Deputy Director General of TCA Abu Dhabi, said:  “Germany has been a mainstay of our overseas inbound business for years.  We are now benefitting from ever-expanding air links between the country and Abu Dhabi, routes which are now served by 49 flights a week thanks to the expansion of Etihad Airways’ network and the partnership with airberlin.   Just over a year ago this partnership also brought double daily non-stop flights from Düsseldorf as well as a daily flight from Berlin to Abu Dhabi into the equation.

“The DRV 2014 meeting gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our increasingly enhanced and compelling tourism proposition to an audience of key German travel players who between them have a consumer base in the region of 6-8 million travellers. We believe the Congress will enable us to sustain the upward momentum in German visitor arrivals. We thank DRV for the vote of confidence it has given Abu Dhabi as well as the opportunity to both use this gathering as a destination awareness platform for its members and for us to demonstrate our ever-growing capabilities as an international congress destination.”

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “As the national airline of the UAE, an award-winning global carrier, and importantly, as a co-host of this event, Etihad Airways looks forward to welcoming our DRV guests to Abu Dhabi next year.

“Given the strategic importance of the German market, to host such an important and high-calibre industry body like the DRV is a huge opportunity for Etihad Airways and our home Abu Dhabi. Together with airberlin, delegates flying from our combined German hubs of Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich, will experience the very essence of what makes our partnership so unique for the German traveller.  This includes a service philosophy and levels of remarkable attention to detail which are second to none, both on the ground and in the air.”

Paul Gregorowitsch, Chief Commercial Officer of airberlin, said the event would enhance co-operation with DRV which is crucial for airberlin and the congress host partners.

“Our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways allows us to focus our energy and expertise and we particularly welcome the DRV’s decision to stage its 2014 congress in the home base of our partner airline. Our excellent network with daily non-stop flights from Berlin and Düsseldorf to Abu Dhabi and numerous connecting flights within Germany are an excellent basis from which, together with Etihad Airways and TCA Abu Dhabi, to make the conference an unqualified success and to further position Abu Dhabi as a tourist destination par excellence.”

The DRV gathering is the third in a series of congresses secured by joint Etihad Airways-TCA Abu Dhabi bids. Others include the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit which was held in the UAE capital in April, attracting 1,000 of the world’s travel and tourism leaders, and the 2013 Institute of Travel and Tourism annual conference, which will bring around 450 of Britain’s top industry experts to the city in June.