Lewis Hamilton leads the pack
Lewis Hamilton leads the pack at the start of Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Representatives from the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi received the award for the World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination at the 26th edition of the World Travel Awards in Muscat.

The award is the latest in several prestigious accolades gained by Abu Dhabi this year, including being selected as the Middle East’s Leading Business Tourism Destination at the Middle East edition of WTA and Best City Break at the UK’s Selling Travel Agents’ Choice Awards.

Abu Dhabi shined as a premium destination for sports tourism in 2019 after hosting some of the world’s top sporting events, such as the FIFA Club World Cup, the first edition of the UAE Tour, the AFC Asian Cup 2019, the Special Olympics World Games 2019, the UFC 242 showdown and the Brazil versus South Korea international friendly.

The UAE capital also continues to play host to annual acclaimed sports events including the Formula 1 Etihad Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.

The victory is all thanks to the efforts of various institutions, most notably the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which has been organising key events annually.

Nabeel M. Al Zarouni, Regional Promotions Manager, Middle East and Africa, who received the award on behalf of DCT – Abu Dhabi, said: “We are very grateful to have Abu Dhabi recognised as one of the world’s leading tourism industry awards.

“This award is a culmination of the hard work that our team and partners have put in to promote tourism in the UAE capital and to position Abu Dhabi as a global hub for business, sports, leisure and culture. We thank the World Travel Awards and look forward to achieving more success within this field in the future.”

Sports tourism has been labelled by the UN World Travel Organisation as one of the fastest growing sectors of tourism worldwide.

Abu Dhabi has been making strides within sports tourism by developing sports facilities and events across the capital. Earlier this year, DCT – Abu Dhabi announced a five-year partnership with the UFC to host annual premier fixtures in the capital as part of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week. The emirate has also recently won the rights to host the FINA Short Course World Championship in 2020.

“Sports tourism has been one of the key areas of development for us at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing Sector.

“This is not limited to hosting premier sports events, but also to developing facilities and attractions across Abu Dhabi to appeal to sports fans, enthusiasts and athletes. Today, Abu Dhabi is equipped with an outstanding array of sports facilities, gyms, and recovery options at its spas and medical centers.

“Recently, we also have worked with the Department of Transport and Abu Dhabi municipality to improve accessibility and allow runners and cyclists to enjoy practicing their sports across the capital.”