ABU DHABI/MUSCAT – Abu Dhabi is trying to position itself as an attractive tourism destination, with massive investments in airport facilities, airline connectivity as well as hotel rooms.
“Tourism is part of Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision and plan. The mandate is to create and develop a sustainable tourism sector and position Abu Dhabi as an attractive destination,” said Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Director of Tourism Ecosystem, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. He was addressing the media on the sidelines of the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit here last week.
“We have already invested in enhancing accessibility by increasing international destinations of Etihad and airport expansion as well as developed different (tourist) attractions to cater to various market segments,” he added.
Al Dhaheri said that the UAE capital is aiming at attracting 2.5 million visitors this year, up from 2.3 million in 2012 and 2.1 million in 2011.
“Our key markets are the United States, Austria, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, India, China and Russia.”
He said Abu Dhabi is also expanding the emirate’s presence in various international markets across the globe by having representative offices and by conducting road shows and exhibitions.
New infrastructure or expansion of existing facilities, such as the new mid-field terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which will more than double passenger handing capacity by 2017, will all support the government’s initiative to develop tourism sector.
Abu Dhabi is also focusing on developing new commercial and residential towers to support the increasing business and residential requirements. New hotels, which include the Rose Wood Abu Dhabi and the proposed Four Seasons coming up in Al Maryah Islands, will accommodate the continued strong growth in business and leisure visitors.
Earlier, while addressing the opening session of the global summit, Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said since Abu Dhabi began its tourism journey almost nine years ago, the country has achieved a number of milestones. Al Muhairi cited the emirate’s reputation for taking hospitality to legendary positions. “The region is rich with hospitality heritage. It is part of past we are proud of and, we believe, integral to the future ahead.”
The two-day summit – the most influential event on the annual travel and tourism industry’s international calendar jointly hosted by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and Etihad – was attended by 1,000 industry leaders including keynote speaker Bill Clinton, former US President and Founder of William J Clinton Foundation.