The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and Hub71, the emirate's global technology ecosystem, have signed an agreement that will see both entities work with start-ups to advance the development and future planning of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors by leveraging innovation to enhance visitor experiences.
DCT Abu Dhabi and Hub71 will collaborate with start-ups on solutions to boost the sectors, co-ordinate on big events and provide mentorship to founders and entrepreneurs, they said in a statement on Wednesday. The start-ups selected for future work will benefit from DCT Abu Dhabi's funding, which will help them to develop their concepts.
“This partnership with Hub71 will enable us to widen the net of potential start-ups we could collaborate with, maximising our capacity to find the right solution that will work for our emirate as we promote the destination both locally and internationally,” Saeed Al Fazari, executive director for the support services sector at DCT Abu Dhabi, said.
As economies reopen globally and countries ease Covid-19 pandemic-induced travel restrictions with accelerated vaccination programmes, travel demand is slowly recovering.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in May, Ali Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing at the DCT Abu Dhabi, said the department’s long-term goal is to attract 23 million visitors a year to Abu Dhabi and generate 4 per cent of gross domestic product from tourism by 2030.
Since reopening its borders on July 1, Abu Dhabi has rolled out several initiatives to boost the city's appeal to visitors. Earlier this year, Retail Abu Dhabi, an arm of DCT Abu Dhabi, launched a programme to promote the emirate and stimulate a post-pandemic recovery.
In June, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company launched Tourism 365, a new entity also aimed at attracting more visitors to the emirate.
In September, Abu Dhabi announced the second phase of its Emirati Cuisine Programme, adding 20 more hotels to the initiative that aims to showcase local culture to guests. Last month, DCT Abu Dhabi launched the Jubilee Cultural Pass, granting holders free or discounted access to several cultural sites and museums across the emirate.
Abu Dhabi has also streamlined the process for obtaining a green pass, which is required for people to enter most public places.
The Hub 71 partnership will give DCT Abu Dhabi access to a pipeline of start-up companies, both regionally and globally, which can develop innovations to enhance services within the tourism sector.
“Innovation in such sectors is particularly interesting to us as they are on the rise globally with new robotics, AI, VR/AR and IoT that could streamline, enhance and unify customer experiences,” Badr Al Olama, chief executive of Hub71, said.
“We are all for building communities that can service the wider Abu Dhabi agenda and our partnership with DCT Abu Dhabi will allow us to unlock various sub-sectors of the industry,”
DCT Abu Dhabi will also take part in Hub71’s flagship challenge, The Outliers, which invites the best start-ups from around the world to solve real problems set by Hub71’s corporate and government partners. The winning start-up will be granted endorsement for DCT Abu Dhabi's POCs.