Abu Dhabi diversifies its investment policy


Anantara Hotels and Resorts Abu Dhabi invests intensely in developing new attractions to draw visitors to the emirate. Tourism representatives are now busy promoting the emirate in a number of other markets, including China and Saudi Arabia. Their attempts seem to be successful, as the number of hotel guests coming from key source markets during the first half of 2012 is growing.

In early September, a group of 76 Chinese tour operators stayed in Abu Dhabi for four days. They explored a few major attractions of the emirate, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrari World and the Falcon Hospital. The tour was aimed at attracting Chinese tourists to the emirate and the UAE in general.

At present, UAE is receiving just a small part of outbound Chinese travellers. They were 70m in 2011, and China is likely to turn into the world’s primary source market for tourism within the next few years.

Although, there is a relatively tiny fraction of Chinese tourists who visit the country each year, they are among the top spenders in the UAE. This was indicated by a June 2012 survey by  VISA credit card company. Visitors from the Asian nation spent on average $700 per VISA transaction during 2011, which corresponds to a total of $225m in spending over the course of the year. Luxury retailers in the UAE regard Chinese tourists as their “best customers”.

The UAE has been a part of the list of approved countries for Chinese citizens to visit since 2009. Moreover, its popularity has increased sharply. The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) revealed results which indicate that the emirate’s hotels registered 15,297 visitors from China during the first six months of 2012, an 84% jump over the same period in 2011. Germany (44% increase), Qatar (41%), Oman (38%), Saudi Arabia (36%), and India and Russia (both 31%) were among other markets that did well during the first half of the year.

How does it feel to fly with the best ? Saudi Arabia reported 36,430 hotel guests during the first two quarters of 2012, making it the sixth-largest source market outside of the UAE. Abu Dhabi’s popularity with Saudi visitors is partly due to its location. The geographic proximity is one of Abu Dhabi’s many advantages to Saudi tourists. Sharing borders is another selling point since this destination unites two peoples in various aspects of their cultures. Abu Dhabi has also turned into a home-away-from-home for thousands of Saudis looking for short holiday breaks, cultural excursions and business trips in a familiar and nearby environment.

Better air links have helped Saudi tourists to reach the emirate even more easily, especially as Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national carrier, operates 42 weekly services between Abu Dhabi International Airport and three Saudi cities: Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh. Moreover, Saudi Airlines offers daily services to Abu Dhabi from both Riyadh and Jeddah.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here