DUBAI, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) — Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been named the fastest growing destination city in the Middle East and Africa, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism said on Saturday.
“Abu Dhabi’s growth as a destination of distinction in the region places it above Riyadh, Tehran and Dubai,” said the report, citing the 2017 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, which indicates a 18.9 percent growth rate of the city in 2016.
The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2016, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2017, said the statement.
Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General from the Department of Culture and Tourism, said Abu Dhabi welcomed 4.4 million visitors in 2016. With a strong year-on-year growth rate, “by the end of 2017, we are looking to reach our target of over 4.9 million visitors to the emirate.”
He also mentioned the recently announced launch of the much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi and several cultural exhibitions, saying that the capital’s reputation as a destination of distinction continues to grow, building on the unique experiences and cultural heritage offered.