Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDH) on Tuesday announced an investment of €100 million (Dh409 million) in one of Europe’s leading tour operators, FTI Group, as the new agreement looks to increase Abu Dhabi’s tourism numbers from some of Europe’s key markets.

“Our strategic partnership with FTI Group reflects our wider commitment, in alignment with the Abu Dhabi government, to support the emirate’s ambition in the tourism sector,” said Mohammad Al Suwaidi, chief executive of ADDH on the investment.

FTI Group is the third largest tour operator in Europe with multiple owned and operated assets, including 70 hotels. In 2010, the firm established its flagship destination management company, Meeting Point Tourism, in the UAE.

“The collaboration will not only create many opportunities to enhance Abu Dhabi’s sustainable tourism sector, but it aligns with our mandate to further develop sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy,” he added.

“FTI Group is already recognised as a key player in Europe’s tourism industry and with access to a passenger base of more than seven million people, I am confident that our agreement will significantly boost the number of tourists arriving from key European source markets to Abu Dhabi,” Al Suwaidi said.

Dietmar Gunz, chief executive officer of FTI Group, said the partnership would include tailor-made and exclusive holiday packages to Abu Dhabi.

“As a tour operator with a global footprint and an operational presence in the UAE for almost a decade, we are proud to sign an agreement with ADDH, one of the emirate’s largest holding companies, to further showcase the best of Abu Dhabi’s expansive tourism offerings to our customers.

“ADDH is an exciting partner for FTI group given its portfolio of hotels and presence in the exhibition, aviation, culture and media sectors, which will enable us to design a new class of exclusive holiday packages for the ultimate customer experience”, he added.

The past year saw Abu Dhabi hosting several major entertainment and sporting events throughout its calendar including the Asia Cup, Special Olympics, UFC 242 and the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Visitor numbers released by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi showed that the emirate in 2019 saw almost 3.8 million hotel guests in the first nine months of the year, an increase of 2.9 per cent compared to last year.