The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) today revealed signs of progress within the tourism sector as the emirate prepares to gradually open up to international travel. Hotel occupancy rates in Abu Dhabi have risen by 3 per cent year-on-year since July 1 and are expected to rise further with the launch of a number of initiatives within the emirate aimed at boosting the sector.
The UAE government has received global praise for its response in confronting the pandemic, as well as for how it has proactively managed its social and economic impact. The local government in Abu Dhabi in turn has relentlessly increased testing for COVID-19, and implemented strict measures, which has been reflected in cases dipping to less than 1 per cent in Abu Dhabi City as a result of the government’s efforts.
DCT Abu Dhabi has also been working closely over the past period with industry partners and stakeholders to introduce a number of initiatives to aid hotels and cultural attractions in reopening.
The Go Safe certification programme is amongst the initiatives rolled out to boost consumer confidence and the tourism sector within Abu Dhabi simultaneously. The programme aims to regulate hygiene standards across all hotels in Abu Dhabi through implementing a strict set of guidelines across all tourism destinations including malls, restaurants, museums, public beaches, theme parks and other attractions. To date, more than 80 per cent of hotels in Abu Dhabi have started the process to become ‘Go Safe’ certified, with W hotel and Louvre Abu Dhabi amongst first venues to obtain the certification.
UFC Fight Island, which is taking place on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island from July 11 to 25, is another major step towards rebooting tourism in the capital of the UAE. Abu Dhabi is hosting over 1,632 local crew members, as well as 609 international delegates flying in as part of 63 commercial flights. All attendees will be staying within a safe zone of 11 square kilometres on Yas Island, comprising seven hotels and several dedicated facilities.
“Abu Dhabi has long been known for its unparalleled hospitality and diverse range of offerings. The progress we have seen since the start of this month was achieved by simply leveraging our offerings and the existing high standard of hospitality, to help us speed up the enlivenment of our sector and elevate further from that point,” said HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi. “The support we have received from government authorities has also been a key driver in the progress of the tourism sector. Their handling of the current situation has been beyond exceptional, providing us with a sense of optimism for the future of our destination and sector.”
The government has also offered its share of support to the tourism industry via a range of schemes, including up to 20 per cent rental rebates for restaurants, tourism and entertainment facilities, and a suspension of tourism and municipality fees for sector players for 2020.
Hotels in Abu Dhabi have started opening after adhering to guidelines set out earlier this month following an extensive period of sterilisation.
As Abu Dhabi cautiously moves towards opening its borders to visitors, the tourism sector is witnessing strong collaborations across both public and private sectors to prepare for the reopening of popular attractions and museums in the emirate, such as Louvre Abu Dhabi, and plans hosting more global events in the near future.