New attractions drive Abu Dhabi tourism to record heights
The Louvre Abu Dhabi was a key driver for tourism in 2017

New attractions drive Abu Dhabi tourism to record heights

A record 4.9 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.

The United Kingdom remains the largest European source market, registering a 13 per cent rise to more than 270,000.

Figures released by the department of culture and tourism, Abu Dhabi, 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, while 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 deneral, 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. 

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“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.

“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 are 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.

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.

The museum, built in collaboration with the French government, instantly became an iconic landmark on the city’s geographical, cultural and tourist landscape and is expected to attract huge numbers of cultural tourists.