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Abu Dhabi's Bold Leap into the Future: Unveiling the $10 Billion Tourism Strategy 2030

The Chairman of Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism, Mohamed Al Mubarak, recently disclosed ambitious plans under the Abu Dhabi Tourism Strategy 2030. This initiative, which was launched by Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, is set to radically enhance the emirate's tourism infrastructure with an investment exceeding $10 billion. The strategy aims to significantly elevate the emirate's contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) and expand its hospitality sector.

Key objectives of the strategy include increasing the annual visitor count to approximately 39.3 million by 2030, marking a 64% rise from current figures. This growth is anticipated to contribute around Dh90 billion to the GDP, an increase of 84% compared to the Dh49 billion recorded in 2023. Moreover, the plan includes a substantial boost in employment, with 178,000 new jobs expected, raising the total in the tourism and hospitality sectors to about 366,000.

The strategy outlines a comprehensive plan across four primary domains: enhancing the visitor experience, aggressive promotion and marketing, improvement of infrastructure and mobility, and streamlined visa, licensing, and regulation processes. Notably, this extensive development will expand the number of hotel rooms from 34,000 to 52,000, aiming to accommodate the surge in international visitors, projected to nearly double to 7.2 million by 2030.

Major projects highlighted include the introduction of world-renowned attractions such as the Guggenheim Museum and expansions at Warner Bros World, including the new Harry Potter World. Additionally, developments in the Saadiyat Cultural District, Hudayriyat Island, and enhancements at Yas Waterworld will further enrich Abu Dhabi’s tourism offerings.

The strategy's implementation involves collaboration with several key partners such as the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Department of Municipalities and Transport, Abu Dhabi Airports Company, and various other governmental and private entities.

Mr. Al Mubarak emphasized that aside from events and marketing expenditures topping $1 billion, the focus on developing high-value infrastructure such as museums, theme parks, and hospitality facilities will be crucial, with the private sector playing a significant role in this investment surge.

Furthermore, the strategy will extend its marketing efforts to new international markets, increasing its promotional roadshows across Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. This expansion aligns with Abu Dhabi's broader economic strategy to diversify beyond oil, aiming to attract more investment into sectors such as aviation, technology, and tourism.

Recent data from the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi underscored a robust economic performance, with the emirate’s economy growing by 3.1% in 2023, reaching its highest level in a decade. This growth, coupled with strategic government initiatives like the unified GCC tourist visa and potential new commercial license regulations, underscores a bright future for Abu Dhabi's tourism sector, poised to create substantial opportunities for cultural and creative industries.

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