Where to go for rewarding incentives in Abu Dhabi

There’s luxury, culture, adventure and more to be experienced in this multifaceted playground to motivate and reward employees.

Abu Dhabi's multi-layered landscape enables creative planning of itineraries.
Abu Dhabi's multi-layered landscape enables creative planning of itineraries. Photo Credit: Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau

From bustling city to stunning salt lakes to picturesque sand dunes, Abu Dhabi offers a vast and versatile repertoire of hotels, venues, entertainment attractions and natural beauty to tick the right boxes for planners.

As Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau Director, Mubarak Al Shamisi explains, Abu Dhabi has the wow factor, offering just the right mix of city experience with natural surroundings. Not to mention plenty of culture.

Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau Director Mubarak Al Shamisi says the diversity of attractions and range of venues make Abu Dhabi "one of the leading destinations for incentive travel in the world."
Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau Director Mubarak Al Shamisi says the diversity of attractions and range of venues make Abu Dhabi "one of the leading destinations for incentive travel in the world."

Boasting some of the world's most beautiful landscapes, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is made up of three main regions: the UAE capital city and its surrounds, Al Ain (Eastern Region) and Al Dhafra (Western Region). These present different offerings in one destination, including international museums, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, remote islands and pristine beaches.

For the incentive travel reward market, Al Shamisi says Abu Dhabi is a bustling city offering a vast range of hotel and hospitality venues, world-renowned restaurants and top entertainment attractions that cover the arts, adventure, sports, culture and heritage.

Some of the attractions that are tailor-made for groups include:

Yas Marina Circuit, the venue for the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which hosts the best motorsport events and activities in the city. You can experience the famous venue first-hand by booking one of its exhilarating experiences, where you drive a Formula YAS 3000 or Aston Martin GT4 around the track or enjoy the thrills of riding passenger-side in a Chevrolet Drift Taxi.

Extraordinary entertainment at Yas Island. Discover that Ferrari feeling at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi as you ride the world’s fastest roller coaster, experience the world’s highest non-inverted loop, or feel an incredible zero-gravity fall. For a day of action and wacky adventures, visit Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, the world's largest indoor theme park, or Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, which has been voted the Middle East’s leading water park.

The Pearl-Diving Experience offers the chance to try this ancient tradition in the deep blue sea. Upon anchoring at the diving site, you will be taught traditional pearling and diving methods to harvest real oyster shells from pearl beds in the depths of the Arabian Gulf.

“There is something for everyone here in Abu Dhabi,” Mubarak Al Shamisi says. "Incentive itineraries include offsite activities to experience the capital’s diverse attractions and luxury offerings.”

Etihad Arena offers 3,565 sqm of versatile events space.
Etihad Arena offers 3,565 sqm of versatile events space.

These include:

A visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with its awe-inspiring architecture and serene ambience. One of the world’s largest mosques, its open-door policy allows visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the emirate’s cultural beliefs in a space that encourages open dialogue.

A curated, guided Arabian Desert Experience showcasing the soul of Arabia. Created for travellers to experience the desert and traditional Emirati life, guests are transported through the dunes to an old-world desert village, where activities include Here, you can choose from an array of desert activities including camel rides, sandboarding, and desert walks, with traditional Arabian food and entertainment.

For an Abu Dhabi's past and future the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Centre offers a fascinating look into the life of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE.

There are numerous DMCs to assist planners with their itineraries based in Abu Dhabi, with one of the most experienced being Emirates Tours & Safaris. The company can provide itinerary ideas and can also manage airport meet and greets, transfers, hotel bookings and suggest team-building options like desert safaris.

Hotels that say yes

For high-end incentive travel experiences, Abu Dhabi, home to some of the most beautiful hotels and resorts in the world, delivers.

The 499-room W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island overlooks the marina and the F1 racetrack, and includes seven restaurants and bars and plenty of spaces for events of all shapes and sizes.

The 200-room Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi At Al Maryah Island is another favourite for incentive travel groups, features a variety of room sizes and styles, and its third-floor rooftop pool is just one of the hotel’s many stand-out features.

For a more Middle Eastern ambience, Emirates Palace, located on a private pristine beach, has 394 rooms with either ocean or landscaped garden views and 13 restaurants and lounges.

Abu Dhabi on a budget

There have been some perceptions that Abu Dhabi is an expensive destination, which the Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau says is certainly not the case. For those who're on a budget while attending the growing number of conventions being held in the emirate, options include the Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Capital Centre, and the Kingsgate Hotel Abu Dhabi.

Getting there

Visitors from many Asian countries are entitled to a free entry visa upon arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Etihad Airways operates direct flights from Asian destinations including Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo, with flight times ranging between seven to a little over nine hours. There are also low-cost carrier connections from airlines including Air Arabia and Wizz Air.



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