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Published on : Saturday, November 16, 2013
Plans announced at World Travel Market in London last week, reveal that the U.A.E capital is surging ahead to become a powerhouse for the arts, sports, and entertainment, following in the wake of great historical cities such as Monte Carlo, Monaco and even the ancient city of Babylon.
“We want to offer the best of everything for the visitor and leave no experience wanting, whether it’s for sport lovers or culture lovers and beyond,” said Nabeel Al Zarouni, UK manager for Abu Dhabi, in an exclusive interview with TTW. “Equally important is catching growing markets.”
Abu Dhabi is a luxury, yet highly affordable destination and next year there will be so much more to do and see in the Emirate. We also expect growth in the MICE sector through the creation of our dedicated Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau and the incentives it offers the meetings industry.
The increase of new visitors from India make it the most important emerging market for the emirate, riding on an all-round surge of visitor numbers as Abu Dhabi’s extensive investment programme establishes it as superior class tourist, business and conference destination.
Figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) reveal a 19 per cent increase in visitors to Abu Dhabi in September. The destination’s hotels welcomed 226,002 guests during the month, generating 714,577 nights, an increase of 26 per cent.
The UK remains the emirate’s second largest overseas market with 109,330 Britons checking into Abu Dhabi hotels in the first nine months of this year – a ten per cent increase on 2012. British guests accounted for 518,571 guest nights – an increase of 21 per cent year-on-year – with an average length of stay of 4.74 nights, again up ten per cent on the previous year.
Some of the ambitious events coming up to drive visitor growth in the United Arab Emirates’ capital include the Christmas 2014/New Year 2015 hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race Fleet. The round-the-world fleet will be in the UAE capital for a fortnight when Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) will mount a two week activation of in-port races, concerts and entertainment in a purpose-built destination village and a celebration of all things nautical. Meanwhile, the Formula One™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix continues to grab international attention.
The city is also looking to attract the world leaders’ of the cultural circuit, as it brings in the best names of art galleries from around the world. The Guggenheim is scheduled to open in 2017, two-years after the prestigious Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open its doors. The Louvre has been designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Jean Nouvel.
“We have focused strongly this year on convincing visitors that there is now much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi emirate – as evidenced by a slew of resort and attractions openings this year – and we will continue to build on this proposition as we target an average length of stay of over the four night mark,” said His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.
One major announcement at WTM was by the hotel market in its decision by The City Seasons Group to use WTM as the international debut of its new five-star brand. The Royal Rose Hotel, a striking continental baroque-style building in the heart of the UAE capital, is the first in the new brand’s portfolio.