The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) held its quarterly industry development committee meeting this week, bringing together stakeholders and leading entities from across the tourism sector to share the latest updates on the status of tourism activity in the emirate. The meeting offered promising signs of recovery for the sector, as well as a glimpse into future projects and plans to boost tourism in the emirate.
The meeting included an overview of the revenues and outcomes of tourism activity within the third quarter (Q3) of the year, demonstrating the sector’s recovery trajectory after an abrupt slowdown in the second quarter (Q2) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Within Q3, Abu Dhabi achieved the highest hotel occupancy rates and the third highest revenue per room in the region. Relative to Q2, hotel revenues saw an increase of 46%, with a 95% increase in the number of guests.
The recovery of the sector was further demonstrated through an estimated 83% increase in footfall at malls across the emirate, and a 119% increase in airline bookings. Seating capacity for all airlines operating in Abu Dhabi was also increased by 364% during this period. This was attributed to the boost in domestic tourism activity led by DCT Abu Dhabi through campaigns and initiatives such as ‘Go Safe’, ‘Unbox Amazing’ and ‘Rediscover Abu Dhabi’.
‘Go Safe’, the region’s first comprehensive safety and hygiene certification programme, contributed to elevating consumer trust in levels of health and safety across hotels and public venues. The programme was launched across all the hotels in the emirate, with 93 of these hotels obtaining full certification in Q3.
HE Saood Al Hosani, Acting Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Despite the profound disruptions caused by restrictions to public mobility, the positive indicators we have seen in the third quarter of this year are a testament to the agility and adaptability of Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry in response to the evolving market landscape. Alongside the launch of Air Arabia and WizzAir this year, which represents a significant vote of confidence in Abu Dhabi’s ongoing role as a travel hub, pioneering initiatives such as our Go Safe certification programme and our Rediscover Abu Dhabi campaign, have successfully resulted in the initial signs of a strong recovery. Looking ahead, tourism continues to be one of Abu Dhabi’s most important drivers to economic growth, and we greatly look forward to continuing our work with the Abu Dhabi government, health authorities, our partners and wider community to build on these achievements for many years to come.”
During the meeting, DCT Abu Dhabi also shared future plans and projects with the attending partners, including the implementation of a cashless payment system across all consumer touchpoints within the sector, and the development of a dedicated bus route for tourism sites, which will make transport across the emirate more accessible, convenient and affordable for visitors.
HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Even during challenging periods, our vision to position Abu Dhabi as a leading tourism destination remains front of mind. We are constantly researching and developing new ways to make the destination more accessible, enjoyable, and extraordinary, and we want our partners to be a part of this ongoing evolution. This year has highlighted, more than ever before, the importance of innovation and collaboration in overcoming the challenges of the future, and DCT Abu Dhabi is committed to ensuring the creative cycle continues during all stages of our work.”