About 178,000 new jobs – direct, indirect and induced – will be created in the next six years, boosting the contributions of Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector to the economy, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism Strategy 2030.

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, announced the launch of the emirate’s tourism strategy.

Positioning the emirate as one the fastest growing global destinations for international visitors, Abu Dhabi plans to increase the number of annual visitors to 39.3 million, create 178,000 new jobs, and bolster the sector’s contribution to non-oil GDP to Dh90 billion by 2030.

24 million visitors in 2023

In 2023, Abu Dhabi welcomed more than 24 million visitors, in more than a 30 per cent increase from 2022. The tourism industry significantly bolstered Abu Dhabi’s economy in 2023, contributing Dh49 billion to GDP, a more than 22 per cent increase from 2022.

In line with the sustainable development in the sector, there has been a major boost to passenger handling capacity at the airport with the opening of the new state-of-the-art terminal.

The newly launched terminal at Zayed International Airport can host 45 million passengers annually, and accommodate 79 aircraft at a time. The increase in capacity allows airlines to enhance their presence in Abu Dhabi in response to growing demand. Recently, the airport has been named ‘Best Airport at Arrivals Globally’ by the Airports Council International at the 2023 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards.

Etihad welcomes 1.4million guests

In February, Abu Dhabi-headquartered Etihad Airways welcomed more than 1.4 million guests onboard and saw its load factor average out at 89 per cent across the month.

“In February 2024, we saw a 46 per cent year-on-year growth in customer numbers as we continue our growth strategy,” said Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Etihad Airways. “Our year-to-date (YTD) passenger figures at 2.9 million are 40 per cent higher than at YTD February 2023.”

Etihad welcomed three new 787-9s in February and announced additional routes to Antalya, Turkey, and Jaipur, India.

Summer, winter campaigns

Abu Dhabi has been rolling out year-long campaigns filled with world-class events to woo domestic and overseas tourists. In May last year, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT – Abu Dhabi), unveiled ‘One Summer Isn't Enough’, and in October, ‘Can’t Wait to Winter’, a global campaign was unveiled packed with back-to-back events for the next six months.

The emirate has been offering something for everyone be it a culture enthusiast, a sports fan, a food connoisseur, an adrenaline seeker, or a music lover.

1.2 million visitors at Louvre

In further testimony to Abu Dhabi’s growing stature as a tourist hub with diverse offerings, Louvre Abu Dhabi received more than 1.2 million visitors last year with more than 70 per cent from overseas. The visitor flow was driven largely by a combination of factors including prominent exhibitions enhancing the museum’s permanent collection, increased visitation to the Children’s Museum, and unprecedented engagement with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s educational programmes.

International visitors represented 72 per cent of footfall, with the majority coming from key growth markets including Russia, India, France, the US, China, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, and the UK. The remaining 28 per cent of visitors were residents of the UAE.

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