The capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi, welcomed 4.4 million foreign tourists in 2016. This represents and increase of 8% compared to 2015. India is the top international market for the city, ahead of the United Kingdom. The number of French tourists has increased by 9% over one year.
According to Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, who announced the latest data, the increase of the foreign tourists represents a new record for the capital. The authorities explained the positive numbers as a result of hosting major events, such as the Abu Dhabi Food Festival, the contemporary art fair called Abu Dhabi Art, and the Qasr Al Hosn festival.
Another beneficial step was the opening of the Al Ain Oasis to the public, which is the first site in the United Arab Emirates to be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The program of activities available to foreign tourists has been enriched as well.
According to the tourism board, the cruise traffic went up boosting significantly the tourism numbers.
Business tourism is also growing in the city. The Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau announced a record year organizing 14 congresses. It is expected that these events will bring together more than 35,000 professionals in the emirate in the years to come.
India remains the largest market for Abu Dhabi. The number of Indian visitors grew by 15% in 2016. As for Europe, the United Kingdom ranks first as to the amount of foreign tourists. It is also the second largest international market with 238,167 tourist arrivals (up 3%) in 2016.
It is France which has demonstrated the fastest growth compared to 2015 with an increase of +9% of visitors (64,929 travelers).