Abu Dhabi limits yearly tourism business licence fee to Dh1,000 to boost growth

The overall cost reduction of about 90% is set to benefit existing businesses and attract new investors to the emirate

Abu Dhabi is a leading destination for the leisure, culture and Mice tourism sectors. Photo: DCT Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism revised the fee structure for tourism business licences, limiting it at Dh1,000 annually to support and hasten the growth of the emirate’s tourism industry.

The fee cap – about 90 per cent lower than earlier overall costs – will be effective this month and is intended to benefit existing businesses and encourage new investors to start ventures in Abu Dhabi, the department said on Tuesday.

It will also elevate the emirate's competitiveness as a leading destination for the leisure, culture and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) tourism sectors.

"This initiative will enhance the competitiveness of the business environment and attract increased investment, strengthening Abu Dhabi's position as a global tourism, cultural and entertainment destination,” said Hamad Alsudain, director of licensing and regulatory compliance at DCT Abu Dhabi.

The fixed-fee structure covers charges payable to several Abu Dhabi government entities, including the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Municipalities and Transport and the Abu Dhabi Chamber.

It also covers the emirate's regulation fees, with the amount adjustable depending on the type of business being applied for.

“The new licensing fee structure is a tangible demonstration of our unwavering support of the tourism sector, and will benefit those wishing to open, continue or expand their tourism business across Abu Dhabi," Mr Alsudain said.

"Regardless of the type of organisation or size, applicants can feel confident that we are partners and focused on their growth."

The introduction of the fixed fee for all sectors will be a boon for tourism operators in Abu Dhabi. As was the case with other industries, the sector grounded to a halt at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and needed an extended period of time to recover.

The move offers transparency, reduces administration challenges for investors and supports the efforts of the governing departments to create a thriving business environment for the private sector, with particular focus on SMEs, the department said.

Tuesday's announcement is also part of the Abu Dhabi government’s wider strategic programme to further develop the sectors in the capital, which would strengthen its position as a preferred destination for travellers and tourism investment.

Abu Dhabi has committed to a plan to invest Dh22 billion ($6bn) over the next five years in its cultural and creative industries as it seeks to reduce its economic reliance on oil, create new jobs and attract talent, after having spent Dh8.5bn in the past five years.

Since reopening its borders last July, Abu Dhabi has unveiled several initiatives to boost the city's appeal to visitors. Early last year, Retail Abu Dhabi, an arm of DCT Abu Dhabi, launched a programme to promote the emirate and stimulate a post-pandemic recovery.

Last June, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company set up Tourism 365, a new entity also aimed at attracting more visitors to the emirate.

Quote
The new licensing fee structure is a tangible demonstration of our unwavering support of the tourism sector and will benefit those wishing to open, continue or expand their tourism business across Abu Dhabi
Hamad Mohammed Saeed Alsudain, director of licensing and regulatory compliance at DCT Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi announced the latest amendments to its green list for travellers earlier this month.

DCT Abu Dhabi is the main driver of the sustainable growth of the culture and tourism sectors in the emirate, which, in turn, contribute to economic progress and help the capital to be recognised on the global stage.

Last November, the department signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi global technology ecosystem Hub71.

Both entities will work with start-ups to advance the development and future planning of the emirate's culture and tourism sectors by using innovation to enhance visitor experiences.

It also launched the VoiceMap Audio Tours app last month, which people can use to explore the capital’s tourism spots through a series of self-guided audio tours.

Abu Dhabi, already home to one leg of the Formula One season, is also a venue for sports events.

It hosted UFC 267 last October, the first event in the emirate since January 2021, and is scheduled to host the National Basketball Association's pre-season games for the first time in October.

Updated: January 11th 2022, 11:52 AM