Abu Dhabi Sets Sail

Written by  Lisa Loverro

As one of the fastest growing destinations in the world, and the fastest growing destination in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi has been recognized by the Global Cities Index Report the Emirate’s annual growth rate of 19.81% in overnight visitors between 2009 and 2016. Abu Dhabi has already posted record-breaking results in 2016, with more than 4 million guests checking into the Emirate’s 168 hotel and hotel apartments in the first 11 months of the year.

Additionally, the Emirate is celebrating a year of achievement in its cruise sector following the opening of a permanent cruise terminal and the opening of the region’s first-ever cruise beach stopover, Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach, estimated to attract more than 60,000 passengers in its first season. The official launch coincided with the arrival of the MSC Fantasia, which calls the Abu Dhabi Cruise terminal their winter sun homeport. During the season, which runs from October until June, Abu Dhabi received more than 100 ship calls for the first time ever. The previous season, Abu Dhabi reported 94 ship calls and 200,000 passengers. Ten years ago just 35,000 passengers and 29 ship arrivals visited the emirate.
HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi stated: “This season we welcome the home porting of Celebrity Constellation, MSC Fantasia and AIDA Cruises and have nine regional rotational callers confirmed, which is the highest ever, and expect 10 maiden callers. Together with Abu Dhabi Ports and Etihad Airways we have been actively pursuing opportunities to achieve greater levels of growth through developing long-term partnerships and cooperation which adds more value to the services and facilities we offer.” This is now Abu Dhabi’s longest ever cruise season where they will welcome 139 ship calls to Abu Dhabi and 39 to Sir Bani Yas Island.
In other news, Al Ain, also known as the Garden City and the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, welcomed a new program of exciting cultural activities for visitor to interact with the Emirate’s history. The program will run through 2017 at various locations throughout the city and will include family-focused events. The program is intended to highlight Al Ain as the cultural heartland of Abu Dhabi, as it’s home to the only UNESCO world heritage site open to the pubic in the UAE. Full details of the program can be found at
For more information about Abu Dhabi, go to

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