x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Abu Dhabi attracts more Gulf visitors

More visitors from the Gulf are visiting the Abu Dhabi emirate than ever before, according to official figures.

There was a 20 per cent increase in the number of hotel guests from the Gulf last year. Silvia Razgova / The National
There was a 20 per cent increase in the number of hotel guests from the Gulf last year. Silvia Razgova / The National

More people from the Arabian Gulf countries than ever before are visiting Abu Dhabi emirate, according to official figures.

Last year, there was a 20 per cent increase in the number of hotel guests from the Gulf, at 159,306 people, compared with 133,277 in 2011.

And the numbers have continued to rise. In the first four months of the year, more than 57,300 Gulf nationals, excluding Emiratis, stayed in Abu Dhabi hotels, an increase of 2 per cent on the same period in 2012. They stayed 129,161 guest nights, a rise of 4 per cent, and stayed, on average, 2.27 nights, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA).

The organisation is hoping to sustain the momentum by hosting a series of roadshows across the Gulf to encourage tourists to visit during the hot summer months, a traditional low season.

The events in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, which began yesterday and run until Thursday, are being held to promote SummerFest Abu Dhabi.

The 52-day festival, which starts on June 27, will span midsummer, including Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, ending on August 17.

It will feature concerts, comedy, sports and celebrity appearances at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and du Forum on Yas Island. "Schools are closed. The family often doesn't know what to do during the summertime, so we [are trying to] attract them to come to Abu Dhabi," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, the director of promotions and overseas offices at TCA Abu Dhabi.

"Many things will be indoor, plus we have outdoor like the [Yas Waterworld] water park, but most of the activities will be indoor."

The GCC is an important market for Abu Dhabi, added Mr Al Nuaimi. "Most of these people don't need to take a flight and we reassure them when they come, they can come with a big family. They can have all the activities and stay in all our hotels," he added.

TCA Abu Dhabi says part of the reason for the increase in visitors from the Gulf have been the opening of Yas Waterworld.

And the scheduled launch of Yas Mall next March is expected to sustain the momentum still further.

"This will also help a lot because it is connected from Ferrari World and you just walk out from Ferrari World to the shopping malls and there are six hotels around Yas Island. That will keep the public to stay longer on Yas Island," Mr Al Nuaimi added.

 

gduncan@thenational.ae