39 mn visitors to Abu Dhabi by ’30

Highlighting double digit growth from India market last year, Abdulla Yousuf, Director of International Operations, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, reveals that Q1 2024 has already registered a 40 per cent growth.

TT Bureau

Abdulla Yousuf, Director of International Operations, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, has said that they exceeded last year’s growth performance of Q1 from India by more than 40 per cent. “India is our top source market for tourism. The team in charge for India is doing an amazing job. This added with the proximity, connectivity, travel trade engagement, a new airport and amazing campaigns is doing the trick for Abu Dhabi,” he revealed.

Right strategies

Talking about their newly approved 2030 Strategy, Yousuf said, “The 2030 tourism strategy is about attracting 39 million visitors by 2030, which would add more than AED 90 billion to the UAE’s GDP, and we are expecting it to create more than 178,000 jobs by 2030. It serves as a blueprint and roadmap for the stakeholders from Abu Dhabi to align their strategy with the vision of the emirate itself. This strategy is focused on four pillars, the first being offers and activations; second being marketing and promotion; third being infrastructure and the last one being visa regulation.”

He added that they are diversifying their offerings by ensuring to have a compact back-to-back calendar of events. “We work closely with our stakeholders in Abu Dhabi to create products that speak to different segments that come to Abu Dhabi, be it family, couples, or business travellers. We are looking to develop destinations within the destination by 2030. We have a successful story with the Yas Island and Saadiyat Island. Today, we are looking at Abu Dhabi as nine different districts and opportunities to develop each of them,” claimed Yousuf.

Successful campaign

Sharing that they had a successful campaign last year, Yousuf said, “Many people who saw the campaign came to Abu Dhabi and enjoyed the destination. Since there is a lot to do here, the situation came for the second campaign, which was ‘101 Abu Dhabi do’s.”

Maintaining the appeal

Yousuf said that looking at the size of the outbound market in India, a destination needs to stand out in their offering to grab as much as it can. “Our performance is extremely good. In the first three month of the year, we had more than 81,000 hotel guests in Abu Dhabi, with 40 per cent growth compared to the last year. We have participated in ATM 2024 with 82 partners on our stand,” he explained.

Indian trade connect

Insisting that connecting with the Indian travel trade is a priority, he said, “At ATM, we announced the new e-learning platform, which I call its 2.0 version – www.experienceabudhabiexperts.com. It is a fully revamped platform with nine modules focusing on different things, including destinations and segments.” Apart from that, he shared that their focus is not only on metro cities in India, but also on tier II and III markets.

Unique aspects

Yousuf asserted that one of the things that Indians love is shopping. “Hence, apart from Yas Mall and Galleria Mall, they also explore some of the old traditional districts like spice shops and experience bargaining. A lot of Indians coming to Abu Dhabi love the theme parks,” he said.

Connectivity boost

Yousuf claimed that they are doing very well in terms of connectivity. “Etihad is clear that they want to expand in India, not just for flying and connecting with India, but also building the brand in India. Even Indian carriers are expanding to Abu Dhabi as part of their global expansion,” he said.



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