ADGM publishes new hotel and tourism rules to boost regulatory framework

Department of Culture and Tourism will take on all regulatory responsibilities relating to hotels and tourism establishments in financial hub

The Abu Dhabi Global Market is an international financial centre and free zone located on Al Maryah Island in the UAE's capital Abu Dhabi. Victor Besa / The National
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The Abu Dhabi Global Market, one of the region's fastest-growing financial hubs, issued new tourism regulations that aim to boost the tourism infrastructure and offer an improved regulatory framework for hotels and tourism establishments in ADGM.

The new ADGM Hotel and Tourism Regulations 2023 also adopted the Abu Dhabi onshore tourism legislation, including the regulations regarding hotels and tourism sectors administered by the Department of Culture and Tourism, into ADGM’s legislative framework.

As a result of adopting the onshore legislation, the DCT will be responsible for undertaking all regulatory responsibilities including supervision, monitoring and enforcement obligations relating to hotels and tourism establishments in ADGM.

However, the ADGM’s Registration Authority retains the right to issue commercial licences to hotels and tourism establishments operating within ADGM’s jurisdiction and issue other relevant permits, according to a statement.

ADGM, opened in 2015, aims to connect the emirate with international markets in the Middle East, Africa, South Asian and East Asian economies, and is part of Abu Dhabi's efforts to diversify its economy.

It expanded its assets under management by 56 per cent last year as it welcomed more businesses and expanded its workforce.

“ADGM has signed an agreement for co-operation and delegation with the DCT to benefit from their expertise and extensive knowledge in regulating and monitoring hotels and tourism establishments operating within ADGM’s jurisdiction,” said Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, chief executive of ADGM Registration Authority.

“The adoption of the Abu Dhabi onshore hotel and tourism legislation within ADGM legislation provides hotel and tourism operators with comfort and assurance that ADGM and Abu Dhabi, as a whole, are aligned in terms of regulating the hotel and tourism sector”, he added.

Abu Dhabi is working to diversify its economy – as part of wider plans to reduce the economy's reliance on oil – with a focus on growing strategic industries including tourism, manufacturing, advanced technology and logistics.

The emirate plans to increase the tourism sector's contribution to its gross domestic product to 12 per cent by 2030, up from 5 per cent this year, as the emirate continues to promote itself as a travel and culture destination.

In April, Abu Dhabi also launched a new fund aimed at further growing its meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) industry.

The UAE capital is intensifying its promotion and marketing campaigns and is "on track" to meet its target of attracting 24 million visitors this year, up from 18 million last year, Saood Al Hosani, undersecretary of the emirate's Department of Culture and Tourism, told The National last month.

The new tourism regulations aim to ensure that all entities established in ADGM and licensed to practise “any business or activity related to the provision of a tourist, recuperation or recreational service to the public, including, but not limited to, hotels, resorts, restaurants, hotel apartments, holiday homes, cinemas, theatres, museums, tourist tours organisers, tourist transport companies and agencies, tourism offices, different recreational and refreshment facilities” abide by the onshore legislation’s requirements, the statement said.

Updated: July 10, 2023, 7:42 PM