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Richard Bleakley Richard Bleakley

Q & A With Richard Bleakley, General Manager, Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi

WITH SPORTS TOURISM BEING ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWNING SEGMENTS ACROSS THE WORLD, RICHARD BLEAKLEY, GENERAL MANAGER, MARRIOTT HOTEL AL FORSAN, ABU DHABI, EXPLAINS WHAT MAKES THE PROPERTY A LEADING CHOICE FOR ATHLETES AND SPORTS FANS ALIKE.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How important do you foresee the sports segment to be at your property?

RICHARD BLEAKLEY: Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi is a destination resort that offers facilities unlike any other and provides new experiences to all travellers to Abu Dhabi.

The property has something for everyone, which can be tailored to individual needs whether you are a family looking for a short staycation, a couple on a mini getaway, colleagues looking for team building activities or a business traveller or sports fan looking to use the endless facilities.

Since the Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi opened its doors in mid-February, the property has created numerous offerings for the local community that live in close proximity to the hotel to enjoy and we have plenty more exciting initiatives in the pipeline.

The hotel will be partnering with the Al Forsan International Sports Resort to offer different packages for guests which will all be available by calling the hotel to personalise the guest’s experience.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Along with the hotel’s strategic location, what makes Marriott Al Forsan Hotel, Abu Dhabi ideal for guests looking to take part in sports activities?

RICHARD BLEAKLEY: Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi delivers a completely new experience for guests.

We are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by endless sporting facilities such as football and rugby pitches, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, two indoor paintball arenas, a professional karting circuit, an off-road buggy race track, shooting facilities, equestrian centre, polo field and a stunning lake with water-ski and wakeboarding cableway system.

The hotel also offers an outdoor 50m Olympic swimming pool in addition to the Kids Zone with an outdoor splash and adventure playground.

Marriott Hotel Al Forsan has six world class hospitality venues that cater for every taste and mood through enticing food and entertainment.

The fully-equipped Saray Spa & Health Club provides a variety of wellness options to refresh travellers, including a world-class luxury spa.

The Saray Spa also houses a traditional marble Hammam bath offering total privacy, comfort and relaxation.

Taking inspiration from timeless rituals and invigorating treatments the spa offers sanctuary from the hectic sporting activities in the resort.

The hotel offers fluid meeting space and is designed to accommodate meetings, conferences and social occasions of all sizes.

All the room and event hire spaces can be formatted and segmented to accommodate a small meeting to a large scale event with dedicated staff and event planners to bring Marriott Hotels’ signature meetings concept, Meetings Imagined to life.

The lobby also features a separate space for event organiser liaison and deal closing, offering comfort and ensuring privacy at all times.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What do you believe is driving the popularity of sports tourism in the MENA region?

RICHARD BLEAKLEY: A number of major sporting events are playing a significant role in positioning the MENA region as a leading international sports tourism destination with global events including the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, DP World Champion Golf Tour, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the pending FIFA World Cup in 2022 in Qatar.

The Qatar government has proposed a significant budget to develop sporting facilities with a focus on the development of 12 new sports stadiums and the renovation of older ones to promote sport in the region and bring together the global sporting community.