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Abu Dhabi visitor numbers soar

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Abu Dhabi visitor numbers soar

A record 4.875 million people stayed in Abu Dhabi’s 162 hotels and hotel apartments during 2017, meaning the emirate recorded an impressive 9.8 per cent year-on-year rise.

Figures released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT) for its hospitality sector reveal that the number of guests staying in Abu Dhabi city during the year rose by 10.3 per cent to reach 4,295,030 across its 131 hotels and hotel apartments, which provide 26,821 rooms.

The Al Ain Region recorded a 5.5 per cent increase to 450,328 guests across its 20 hotels and the Al Dhafra Region rose 8.2 per cent to number 130,180 guests at its 11 hotels and hotel apartments.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, director general, DCT, said: “Record numbers of people are visiting Abu Dhabi year after year and we continue to go from strength to strength in positioning ourselves as a distinctive global tourist destination steeped in culture and heritage. A near double digit year-on-year growth in the number of guests staying in all three regions of the emirate is testament to our drive and determination in helping the emirate evolve into a ‘must-visit’ place on any traveller’s itinerary.

“Abu Dhabi’s unique cultural archetypes, combined with diverse natural landscapes, cultural and historic sites, dynamic family-leisure entertainment and ambitious business opportunities, will continue to stimulate visitation and help us grow by 11 per cent per annum to achieve 8.5 million visitors by 2021. However, we more than ever aware of the challenges we face in supporting key metrics such as length-of-stay and occupancy rates for the emirate’s hotels and are working hard to continue the focus on these measures.”


Throughout 2017, key overseas markets continued to perform well with guests from China surging year-on-year by 60 per cent to number more than 372,000 to be Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market, with the numbers swelled by the easing of visa restrictions and Chinese visitors now receiving visas on entry in the UAE.

India is the second largest international source market with more than 360,000 guests recorded during the 12 months, an increase of 11 per cent. The United Kingdom remains the largest European source market, registering a 13 per cent rise to more than 270,000 while the United States’ market also showed a considerable rise of more than 23 per cent.

Domestic tourism from within the UAE increased 2.6 per cent to number slightly over 1.5 million hotel guests.

The emirate benefited throughout the year from a packed calendar of events, with the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi on November 11 being the highlight and garnering worldwide headlines. Guests from France increased by 61 per cent, the numbers supplemented by the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi, while other key source markets also performed well with the numbers of American guests rising by 54 per cent, China 39 per cent, India 29 per cent, the UK 22 per cent and Germany 12 per cent.

NEW IN 2018

“Medical tourism will feature high on top areas of growth over the coming period,” Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, acting executive director, TCA Abu Dhabi, said.

He told that a campaign in collaboration with the Department of Health –Abu Dhabi – will soon be officially announced to boost medical tourism and develop best-in-class service providers for international patients seeking specialised medical treatment and expertise in Abu Dhabi.

The emirate is targeting further increases in the number of guests from the UK by the end of 2018, following a five percent increase in the number of British tourists visiting the UAE capital 2017 to 173,103 as compared to 2016.

The opening of the new Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi airport in 2019, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum are all expected to contribute to the emirate’s tourism growth in the next few years.

“This is besides other attractions, including Yas Island’s continuing evolution as a leading entertainment and lifestyle destination, Zayed and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Terminals, new museums soon to open in Al Ain, and the launch of some stunning hotels and theme park attractions opening in the capital,” he said.