DCT Abu Dhabi launches strategic initiatives to boost tourism sector

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Officials of Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi during the event.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

Abu Dhabi: As part of the Abu Dhabi Government’s accelerator programme “Ghadan 21”, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced strategic initiatives to further drive the development of the Emirate’s tourism sector.

In line with the Ghadan 21 ambition, to make Abu Dhabi one of the best places in the world to do business, invest, live, work and visit, the strategic initiatives have been designed to improve the value proposition of Abu Dhabi and make it the destination of choice for travelers and spur tourism investment.

The initiatives will decrease tourism and municipality fees for hotels in Abu Dhabi, exempt long-term hotel guests and visitors from daily municipality fees, as well as increase investments in attracting tourists and further promote Abu Dhabi’s well-established infrastructure, world-class tourist attractions and events.

Announced by Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary at DCT Abu Dhabi, it was confirmed that DCT Abu Dhabi has already begun implementing the initiatives across the sector.

He said: “The initiatives will encourage local, regional and international tourism investment within the Emirate and help enhance Abu Dhabi’s position as a global tourist destination.”

The tourism and municipality fee reductions are estimated to increase available capital for hotels by Dhs1 billion over the next three years.

Ghobash commented that the initiatives’ focus is to enhance the relationship between the government and private sector, he said: “These initiatives will support tourism companies in Abu Dhabi, which in turn will help guarantee the continued growth of the sector and contribute significantly to the national economy.”

The Ghadan 21 programme was declared by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi to accelerate the existing economic agenda. From 2019 to 2021, Dhs50 billion will be invested across four strategic pillars: Economic, Knowledge, Livability and Social. Each of the Ghadan 21 initiatives have been designed to reflect the priorities of Abu Dhabi’s citizens, residents, business owners and investors.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s initiatives include fee reductions that give hotel owners access to more capital to reinvest in their businesses and growth. DCT Abu Dhabi is reducing the overall tourism and municipality fees for hotels in Abu Dhabi from 10 per cent to 5.5 per cent (tourism fees from 6 per cent to 3.5 per cent, and municipality fees from 4 per cent to 2 per cent). It is to reduce the daily municipality fee from Dhs15 to 10 for each hotel room.

Removing all tourism and municipality fees on any tourist attraction tickets sold by the hotels; Exempting long-term visitors in hotels - 30 or more consecutive nights - from the daily municipality fee to encourage extended stays at hotels; and changing the frequency of fee collection from monthly to semi-annually, giving hotel owners access to more capital to help with continual improvements and the quality of their offerings.

Increased tourism investment to support the Abu Dhabi Toursim sector in attracting more visitors, DCT Abu Dhabi will invest directly Dhs500 million in promoting Abu Dhabi in major tourism target markets globally. The move comes after Abu Dhabi achieved a record of number of visitors and hotel guest in 2018, with a 3.94 per cent growth in hotel guests compared to 2017. Over the year, more than 10 million visitors arrived in Abu Dhabi from around the world. This growth can be attributed to an increased investment in key markets.

Ghobash commented that the initiatives’ focus is to enhance the relationship between the government and private sector, he said: “These initiatives will support tourism companies in Abu Dhabi, which in turn will help guarantee the continued growth of the sector and contribute significantly to the national economy.”

From 2019 to 2021, Dhs50 billion will be invested across four strategic pillars: Economic, Knowledge, Livability and Social. Each of the Ghadan 21 initiatives have been designed to reflect the priorities of Abu Dhabi’s citizens, residents, business owners and investors.

Abu Dhabi saw a 13.62 per cent growth in the number of hotel guests compared to 2016, affirming its position as an exceptional international destination with remarkable infrastructure, advanced world-class tourism attractions, events and programmes organised throughout the year.

Abu Dhabi’s cruise tourism sector attracted more than 350,000 visitors to the emirate in 2018, with a growth rate of more than 27 per cent since 2016.

Ghadan 21 is a three-year, Dhs50 billion accelerator programme endorsed by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. Ghadan 21 is anchored around four main pillars: Social, Economic, Livability and Knowledge.