Emirate of Abu Dhabi were rated by the pearl rating system of "Estidama".
Falah Al Ahbabi said that the year 2013 also witnessed the launching of a new initiative by "Estidama", which was considered as a key element in the overall orientation of UPC towards sustainable urban development; and in achieving the objectives of the "Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Vision 2030", known as the "Comprehensive Sustainable Communities". This initiative is an effective tool to get a balanced method to achieve sustainable planning and provide benefits and services for residents and visitors, while preserving the natural environment of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Al Ahbabi stressed that the establishment of first class cities and supporting sustained economic growth, requires consistent urban planning and economic strategies; thus, the urban planning and economic decisions should complement each other and share the same overall vision.
For his part, Mubarak Al Muhairi, the Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority said that the tourism sector in the emirate has witnessed a tremendous boom in the last five years. The number of one night stay passengers increased; as well as the points of tourist attraction and the variety of services aimed at serving the visitors of the Emirate, over the various seasons of the year. In 2012, Abu Dhabi hotels registered the best figures ever in terms of revenue, number of guests, hotels nights of stay. The number of guests increased by 13% percent to reach 2.38 million persons, while the nights of stay also hiked by 13% to register 6.99 million nights. Revenue and profits amounted to AED 4.6 billion, increasing by 6% compared to the previous year. The tourism sector direct contribution to non-oil GDP amounted to AED 10.4 billion, while its indirect contribution to non-oil GDP was estimated at AED 20.9 billion, marking 2.6% and 5.3% respectively.
He explained that growth rates registered in all major markets were high. The strongest growth of 33% was captured by the African market, followed by the GCC countries with 25% and the Middle East and Asian markets with growth rates of 20% each.
Al Muhairi said that during the same period, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA) succeeded in transforming the Emirate from a tourist destination with less than 10,192 hotel rooms, limited air travel and few tourist attractions, into a venue globally known for sustainability and renowned for its commitment to the preserve heritage and culture. Today Abu Dhabi has become the center for takeoff to multiple world destinations; thanks to the rapid growth of "Etihad Airways", and Abu Dhabi Airports Company "ADAC", who were able to attract a large number of air carriers.
He added that at the end of 2012, the number of hotel facilities went up to 631 hotels and hotel apartments, spreading along beaches and city resorts, in addition to points of relaxation and comfort in oases, islands and deserts. The number of hotel rooms exceeded 21,906 rooms, and the tourist destinations and specialized tours also increased. The total number of visitors amounted to 3.39 million visitors Al Muhairi stated that most of the hotels in Abu Dhabi fall within the three, four or five stars classification; while most new hotels planned to be open in the next few years, will be four or five-star hotels. Abu Dhabi will continue to target visitors consistent with its nature, culture, products and commercial and recreational expertise. According to him future increases in the number of top rated luxury four and five-star hotels will also support the position of Abu Dhabi as a tourist destination, which will offer competitive hotel prices for visitors who come to relax or work. This would encourage growh in the "conferences, meetings and incentives" market. Abu Dhabi today enjoys excellent infrastructure and innovative events organizing facilities, on which it counts to attract large number of visitors to the Emirate.
He said that Abu Dhabi Plan 2030" has set a clear target which to receive 7.9 million visitors, and raise hotel occupancy to more than 80,000 hotel rooms in the next 18 years. He emphasized that the Tourism and Culture Authority is more focused on achieving these goals as well as increasing the contribution of tourism to the national economy, promoting cultural heritage and providing significant job opportunities for young people.