Abu Dhabi Image Credit: File photo

Abu Dhabi: Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) plans to spend Dh500 million as part of a marketing campaign to attract more visitors to the emirate, a top official said on Tuesday.

“The aim of tourism marketing is to boost Abu Dhabi’s competitiveness and raise tourism awareness in key target markets for increased tourism demand over the next three years,” said Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary at DCT Abu Dhabi.

As part of the marketing activities, the department would be conducting roadshows in the United States, China, United Kingdom, Russia and India, among others to increase visitors’ numbers. More than 10 million people visited Abu Dhabi in 2018, up by about 4 per cent compared to 2017.

The number is expected to go up this year and the coming years due to the new initiates of the department, he added.

“Abu Dhabi has demonstrated a great trajectory in growth the number of visitors and guests and I expect that to continue with new investments and promotional activities,” said Ghobash.

He made the comments while speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi during a press conference. He outlined various strategic initiatives of the department to boost tourism numbers in line with Ghadan 21 accelerators programme announced by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, last year.

Ghadan 21 programme aims to stimulate Abu Dhabi’s economy with an allocated budget of Dh50 billion over the next three years in different sectors including tourism.

Ghobash also said the department is undertaking a number of measures to increase tourism numbers in Abu Dhabi including reducing tourism fee from 6 per cent to 3.5 per cent and municipal fees from 4 per cent to 2 per cent.

Municipality hotel room fee per night has also been brought down from Dh15 to Dh10 and fee has been exempted for long-term guests staying for more than one month.

The tourism and municipality fee reductions are estimated to increase available capital for hotels by Dh1 billion over the next three years. The opening of Qasr Al Watan as well as other tourist destinations in Abu Dhabi is expected to increase tourism numbers.

The key markets of India, the US and China have all posted double-digit growth for hotel guests in 2018 with India and China remaining the two top markets for overseas visitors and UK — the top European source market, DCT Abu Dhabi said last month.