Abu Dhabi’s tourism experiencing fastest growth in the region

Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index puts capital first in the region in terms of fastest-growing tourism and fourth globally

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, August 31, 2017:    A tourist takes a picture with a smartphone as the sun sets over Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque ahead of Eid al-Adha in Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2017. Eid al-Adha, or the, Feast of the Sacrifice, honors the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismaeel, as an act of obedience to God's command. Christopher Pike / The National

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Abu Dhabi has been named the fastest-growing “destination city of tomorrow” in the region by a global index.

Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index showed that the UAE capital had experienced tourism growth of 18.9 per cent between 2009 and last year and it was the fourth fastest growing city globally, behind Osaka, Changdu and Colombo.

Overall, Dubai was ranked fourth on the index, which is based on the number of international overnight visitors, with 14.87 million visitors, behind Bangkok (19.41m), London (19.06m) and Paris (15.45m). Growth in Dubai was forecast to be 7.7 per cent this year.

Read more: Abu Dhabi hotel guests surge 13 per cent

“Being recognised as the fastest-growing destination city in the region is an incredible achievement. With the recently announced launch of the much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi and cultural exhibitions such as Hajj: Memories of a Journey, the capital’s reputation as a destination of distinction continues to grow, building on the unique experiences and cultural heritage offered,” said Saif Saeed Ghobash, director general, of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.

“Last year was a record-breaking year for the emirate of Abu Dhabi, welcoming 4.4 million visitors. Our year-on-year growth rate has been strong and, by the end of 2017, we are looking to reach our target of over 4.9 million visitors to the emirate.”