The number of visitors heading to Abu Dhabi in 2019 has increased by 100,000, according to new figures.

Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) officials say that an increase of 7% in hotel revenues has also been recorded in the emirate.

The rise could be attributed to visitors being impressed by the increasing number of world-class attractions in the capital, experts say.

Success has also been achieved by a new government data analytics program that enables potential holidaymakers to be more effectively targeted by advertisers.

The DCT’s director of business intelligence Ziad Mohamad says that sophisticated tools are made use of in order to target particular tourists with tailored campaigns rather than ones that are ‘one size fits all’.

As many as 4.6 million tourists came to Abu Dhabi in 2019 in comparison to 4.5 million last year, official figures have revealed.

From the beginning of January through to the end of October, the city’s hotels made as much as Dh4.5bn, with over 7m rooms being occupied, the data also demonstrated.

The DCT’s undersecretary Saeed Ghobash says that the number of visitors coming to Abu Dhabi is expected to increase still further next year, partly because of Expo Dubai 2020.

Attractions such as Qasr Al Watan, Qasr Al Hosn, the Louvre and Warner Bros. World and have proven to be enormous assets and more such sites will be opening in the near future.

The site of Expo 2020 Dubai is just around 40 minutes’ drive from Abu Dhabi, and there will be package promotions and road shows being held, according to Ghobash.

The hard work that has been done in the last three years on the analytics system has made all the difference, adds Ghobash.

The DCT is now in a position to be able to know the best times to advertise the emirate on a national level and when to do so internationally, according to Mohamad.

One example of this is that research has discovered that Indians rarely holiday during Diwali, so tourist packages aimed at the Indian market were not created at that time.

The Indian market also has little presence on Snapchat, with 95% being on Instagram and Facebook instead, Mohamad says.

Because of this research, the DCT was able to make sure that its advertising efforts were focused on the more popular social media sites.

Emiratis were the biggest sector of visitors to come to Abu Dhabi in 2019, as were other nationalities residing in the country.

Around 1.3 million came to the emirate, with 400,000 Indian nationals representing the second biggest segment.

The third biggest sector was China, which was followed by the UK and then the US and Egypt.

The emirate was also visited by around 100,000 tourists from Germany.

Abu Dhabi is now a “trendy destination”, according to Google’s head of travel and international sales Hany Abdelkawi.

Anyone who is intending to travel to Abu Dhabi or anywhere else in the UAE should take out travel insurance as protection against unexpected events such as cancelled flights or missing luggage.


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