New figures from the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, show that emirate welcomed 1.6 million guests in the first quarter of 2017, recording a 7 percent growth compared to the same period last year.
The month of April has continued to build on the strong performance of the opening quarter of the year, posting a year-on-year increase of 15 percent in hotel guest arrivals. Each of the six international tier-one markets of China, India, the United Kingdom, UK, the United States, US, Germany and Saudi Arabia have shown growth. Domestic numbers also grew impressively in April to reach 130,000. Each of the emirate’s three districts – Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra regions – have experienced an upturn in arrivals.
Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director-General of TCA Abu Dhabi, said, “Efforts to stimulate interest in our destinations continue unabated and we are encouraged by our latest hotel guest arrival results, which show strong progress. As we expand our year-round programme of events and develop new cultural and family attractions, we expect even greater traction in enticing people to explore the emirate.
“Our inaugural Culture Summit in April brought together leaders of the world’s art, media and cultural policy communities from 80 countries, while the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair attracted more than 300,000 visitors. Both these events contributed to highlighting our vision of developing the emirate into a thriving cultural hub and a global cultural destination,” he added.
Adding to Abu Dhabi’s growing international appeal is the recent accolade for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which was ranked by travellers as the world’s no. 2 favourite landmark for the second year in a row by travel planning and booking website TripAdvisor. Last year, the mosque’s total number of visitors reached 5.2 million.
As far as the figures in April are concerned, China has maintained its position as the largest overseas source market with 131,253 hotel guest arrivals, followed by India with 104,436 and the UK with 86,529. The surge from China reflects the recent relaxation of entry rules with visa on arrival for visitors.
The TCA Abu Dhabi-led delegations, working alongside the authority’s 11 overseas offices, have helped reinforce the ‘Your Extraordinary Story’ destination campaign with a series of recent regional and international roadshows, including visits to Saudi Arabia, China, Germany and South Africa.
Further delegations of Abu Dhabi’s tourism proposition, including hotels, travel agents, destination management companies and attractions, will visit the US, India and Europe as the year progresses.
Adding to the expanding list of year-round events, festivals and cultural programmes for residents and visitors this year is the inaugural edition of ‘Manarat Al Saadiyat Ramadan Evenings.’ Set to take place from 4th to 17th June, it provides a wide range of unique cultural experiences during the Holy Month of Ramadan through a variety of culinary experiences, creative activities, retail opportunities, performances and workshops.
The emirate will again host its annual entertainment spectacle, Abu Dhabi Summer Season, from 20th July to 20th August. With concerts, theatre performances and children’s shows held in venues across the emirate, there will be value-for-money promotions and offers at hotels and other attractions encouraging visitors to spend their holidays in the emirate. Indian and GCC visitors will be specifically targeted through the TCA Abu Dhabi’s marketing and promotion campaign, held in conjunction with key stakeholders and partners.