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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Abu Dhabi on track to attract 4.9m hotel guests this year

Emirate is benefiting from opening of Louvre, high profile events

In November alone, guest numbers surged 16 per cent to more than 443,000 thanks to the opening of the Louvre and hosting of Formula 1. Christopher Pike / The National
In November alone, guest numbers surged 16 per cent to more than 443,000 thanks to the opening of the Louvre and hosting of Formula 1. Christopher Pike / The National

Abu Dhabi is on target to welcome a record 4.9 million hotel guests this year as the emirate benefits from the much-awaited opening of the Louvre and high profile events such as the Formula One, the Department of Culture and Tourism said on Monday.

Abu Dhabi, which received more than 4.4 million guests in 2016 , has already attracted 4.3 million guests in the first 11 months of this year, a 9 per cent year-on-year increase , the department said. In November alone, guest numbers surged 16 per cent to more than 443,000 thanks to the opening of the Louvre and hosting of Formula One that has a global fan following.

“These events are proving a draw to visitors who are seeking a blend of Arabian culture, heritage and excitement in a diverse and affordable destination,” said Saif Ghobash, director general of the Department of Culture and Tourism. “We expect a strong fourth quarter performance to round off a very successful year for Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector.”

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The capital plans to add more to its rising inventory of hotel rooms, and is focused on hosting globally high profile events, and building museums and theme parks to boost tourist arrivals. These efforts are part of plans to create new revenue lines and diversify Abu Dhabi's income away from oil .

The emirate, which is the second largest tourist destination in the UAE after Dubai, is also beefing up its marketing campaign to boost the tourism industry’s performance.

“We have challenges to address, such as increasing average length of stay of our guests and the occupancy rate. We are constantly working on new initiatives and marketing to improve these figures,” said Mr Ghobash.

The opening of the Louvre, the second such museum in the world, helped boost the number of French tourists to the capital by 32 per cent in November compared with a year-earlier period.

Also in November, the number of US guests jumped 50 per cent, while those from China, UK and Germany surged 38 per cent, 36 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively.

China is Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market, closely followed by India.