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Visit Abu Dhabi or Dubai?
The UAE capital promises to be a “luxury global cultural destination”. But tourism officials insist Abu Dhabi is not competing with its northern neighbor.
February 23, 2010 5:43 by Aarti Nagraj
“And the reality is, if we do go down different paths, Abu Dhabi is very committed to the higher end cultural tourism destination and Dubai has been very successful in building a much larger mass tourism leisure proposition,” he says. And with both offering different products and experiences, they can hopefully lead to a sort of “longer overall link” for tourists to stay within the country, not just one emirate or the other, Franklin adds.
However, numbers seem to indicate that, overall, tourists did choose one emirate over the other last year: While Abu Dhabi reported a rise in tourists in 2009, the latest figures available for Dubai show a fall in tourists during 2009. According to data from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), published by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Dubai tourist numbers were down by 1.3 percent during the first nine months of 2009. The decline was more severe in the latter half of the year – visitor numbers were down by 5.7 percent in the third quarter of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.
But the condition could be improving this year.
“Tourists are still flooding the emirate and the number of tourist visas issued is increasing,” Major General Mohammad Ahmad al-Merri, director general of the Residency and Foreigners Affairs Department in Dubai told Gulf News earlier this month.
“In January, the demand for tourist visas and visas issued on arrival was on the rise. We issued 411,774 tourist visas compared to 406,935 during the same period last year,” he said.
But if Abu Dhabi’s tourism appeal grows stronger, will it eventually take away a share of tourists from Dubai? Or as authorities hope, will it just persuade visitors to have longer itineraries when they visit the UAE?
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