Milan: Abu Dhabi received more than 1.6 million tourists from across the world in 2008, a 16 per cent increase over 2007, said a senior official at the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) during the Borsa Internazionale Del Turismo (BIT) in Milan, Italy.

ADTA Product Development Division Director Dayne Lim Kok Chun spoke about the importance of upgrading and managing infrastructure as an initial stage to create a more organised future touristic path for the city.

"The ADTA is focusing on enhancing its infrastructure as an initial backbone plan; in the meantime we plan new and innovative events; increase the capital city's exposure through the media and television and invite important delegates to Abu Dhabi. Within seven to eight years Abu Dhabi will become a compelling destination on the world stage," said Chun.

The ADTA is focusing on a balanced contribution to economic growth, society and culture, national understanding and improvements in the general lifestyle of Abu Dhabi residents and Emiratis.

In the past two years, business tourism in the UAE contributed 80 per cent of visitor traffic while leisure tourism contributed 20 per cent, a ratio that the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority plans to raise to 50-50 within the next ten years.

This year another 3,500 hotel rooms and apartments will be added to the plan to help accommodate more tourists, added the senior official.

Milan The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) will take part in 17 international exhibitions this year including the Borsa Internazionale Del Turismo (BIT) in Milan that ended on Friday, said a senior official at the ADTA.

The ADTA will participate in the International Travel Bourse (ITB) in Berlin where more than 5,000 exhibitors will showcase their products from March 11.

Mubarak Rashid Al Nuaimi, International Promotion Manager at the ADTA, told Gulf News that during the BIT's first day, the ADTA booth received over 10 appointments with tour operators who are interested in attracting tourists from Italy to Abu Dhabi.

There were also interviews by 12 Italian newspaper and television reporters and inquiries from over 100 walk-in visitors.