Abu Dhabi has been ranked among the fastest-growing destinations in the world as overnight visitors registered strong double-digit growth in recent years, says a new report.
The Global Cities Index Report by financial services giant Mastercard recognised the UAE capital's compound annual growth rate of 19.81 per cent in overnight visitors between 2009 and 2016, which places the emirate in third place alongside major upcoming destinations such as Osaka and Chengdu, and above established hubs such as Tokyo, Riyadh and Taipei.
"The outstanding results offered in this year's Global Destination Cities Index Report reflect Abu Dhabi's ongoing successes in achieving global recognition as a leading international destination," said Saif Saeed Ghobash, director-general, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
The Mastercard report is produced on an annual basis, and features results gathered by field specialists through extensive research. The UAE capital was one of only three Arabian Gulf cities to make it into the top 50 overall rankings for destination cities in the world.
Abu Dhabi has already posted record-breaking results in 2016, with more than four million guests checking into the emirate's 168 hotel and hotel apartments in the first 11 months of the year. "We remain resolute in fostering the continued evolution of Abu Dhabi into a distinctive global destination, leveraging diverse tourism and cultural assets, as well as extensive tourism infrastructure," Ghobash said.
The strong performance of the emirate was underpinned by the UAE capital hosting world-class events such as Abu Dhabi Summer Season, Abu Dhabi Food Festival, the Qasr Al Hosn Festival and a comprehensive programme of events to celebrate New Year in the city as well as successes in the Mice sector.
Other notable factors included the opening to the public of Al Ain Oasis World Heritage Site and impressive growth in Abu Dhabi's cruise sector following the opening of the city's permanent cruise terminal and the opening of the region's first-ever cruise beach.
"Welcoming a growing number of overnight visitors over the course of 2016 conveys our emirate's commitment to providing the highest standards of hospitality, coupled with internationally recognised business and leisure opportunities," Ghobash said.
The Global Destination Cities Index Report conducted by Mastercard covered 132 cities, investigating global cross-border travel and spending in order to speculate on the growth trajectories of the many increasingly dynamic global destinations cities that are on the rise around the world.
Mastercard concluded that their study into the fastest-growing destination cities has revealed that there are strong and multi-faceted sources of momentum propelling cities such as Abu Dhabi into newly established positions as international hubs of business, tourism and commerce.
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