Abu Dhabi sets target to welcome 24 million visitors by end of year

Emirate received 18 million visitors in 2022, a 13 per cent increase from the previous year

Visitors take photos at Emirates Palace to mark the UAE's 50th National Day in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari/ The National
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Abu Dhabi has set a new target to attract more than 24 million visitors to the emirate by the end of this year.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announced the new performance goals before the start of the Arabian Travel Market which starts on Monday.

Abu Dhabi's tourism sector had a strong 2022, with hotel occupancy rates reaching 70 per cent, surpassing the Middle East average of 67 per cent, according to data from the government. The emirate received 18 million visitors last year, a 13 per cent increase from 2021.

According to officials, visitors are defined as all "individuals visiting the emirate of Abu Dhabi, for day trips or overnight stays in hotels or with family and friends".

The emirate welcomed visitors from around the world, with the highest number of international visitors coming from India, Saudi Arabia, the UK and US.

"Our ambitious goal to welcome more 24 million visitors by end of 2023 builds on healthy growth over the past year," said Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, undersecretary at DCT Abu Dhabi.

"This encouraging performance was enabled through powerful collaborations and delivery of memorable travel and business experiences across the whole year, supported by an integrated ecosystem of best-in-class services, infrastructure and impactful marketing.

"In Abu Dhabi we are demonstrating the power of partnerships across the tourism sector and the fact that collectively we can thrive.”

Last year, Abu Dhabi hosted more than 100 events during a 180-day period, including Grammy award-winning singer Sting, K-Pop sensations Blackpink and Oscar-winning Indian composer A.R. Rahman.

Abu Dhabi also proved itself as a leading destination for global sport by hosting key events such as the Grand Prix, NBA and UFC.

"The success we have achieved so far inspires us to strive for more," said Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, director general for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi in a statement.

"We are committed to deliver on our ambitions for 2023 by further elevating the successful strategy of creating and delivering unique experiences for everyone to enjoy and diverse range of year-round events for visitors in collaboration with our global IP partners."

The emirate also hosted local festivals such as the Mother of the Nation and Liwa.

Two tourism campaigns were launched last year, ‘Experience Abu Dhabi, Find Your Pace’ and ‘Summer Like You Mean It’, and Abu Dhabi Art and Culture Summit Abu Dhabi were also held.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi's neighbour Dubai could potentially exceed its pre-pandemic annual number of international visitors this year following a growing influx of tourists, according to a new report.

The emirate hosted 3.1 million visitors in the first two months of the year, latest data from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) shows.

In January, the number of visitors increased by 50 per cent year-on-year and stood 9 per cent below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, according to an assessment by Emirates NBD.

Dubai recorded 14.36 million international visitors last year, inching closer to the 16.73 million tourists in 2019, according to DET statistics.

Updated: May 01, 2023, 9:48 AM