Abu Dhabi welcomed 1.6 million guests in the first four months of this year marking a 7 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2016, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority said on Monday.
In April alone, guest arrivals in the emirate went up by 15 per cent when compared to the same period last year.
Domestic hotel guest numbers in April also grew significantly, numbering 130,000, with each of Abu Dhabi’s three districts — Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra regions — all experiencing an upturn in arrivals.
China has maintained its position as the largest overseas source market with 131,253 hotel guest arrivals in April, followed by India with 104,436 and the UK with 86,529.
The surge from China is due to the recent relaxation of entry visa rules, with Chinese visitors now given visas on arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport or other points of entry into the UAE.
Efforts to stimulate interest in our destination continue unabated and we are encouraged by our latest hotel guest arrival results which continue to show strong progress.
As we expand our year-round programme of events and develop new cultural and family attractions, we expect even greater traction in enticing more people to explore the emirate, Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi, said in a statement.
The inaugural Culture Summit in April brought together leaders of the world’s art, media and cultural policy communities from 80 countries, while Abu Dhabi International Book Fair attracted more than 300,000 visitors.
Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque was ranked by travellers as the world’s No. 2 favourite landmark for the second year in a row by travel planning and booking website TripAdvisor, TCA Abu Dhabi said. Last year, the mosque’s total number of visitors reached 5.2 million.
TCA Abu Dhabi-led delegations working alongside with the Authority’s 11 overseas offices, have conducted a series of regional and international roadshows, including visits to Saudi Arabia, China, Germany and South Africa recently.
Further delegations of Abu Dhabi’s tourism proposition, including hotels, travel agents, destination management companies and attractions, will visit the US, India and Europe as the year progresses, according to TCA Abu Dhabi.
Sofitel will open its largest property in the Middle East in 2019, located in Dubai, the company said in a statement on Monday.
In collaboration with development partner MKM Commercial Holdings LLC, the Sofitel Dubai Wafi will feature 501 luxury guestrooms, ranging in size from 55 square meters to 625 square metres.
The property will also contain 97 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom serviced residences to be operated on an extended-stay basis.