A recent travel trends report published by ABTA listed Abu Dhabi as a “destination to watch” in 2016. ABTAs list includes a number of destinations ABTA have predicted may capture the public’s imagination this year. In second place behind Abu Dhabi is Canada, followed by China in the report. The report reveals British tourists are becoming more attracted to long-haul holidays, which may be as a result of newer aircraft such as Boeing’s Dreamliner increasing accessibility to further away locations as well as more long haul routes being created. It is predicted by ABTA that Abu Dhabi may inspire and attract new visitors this year as the travel industry continues to evolve and innovate to meet customer demand.
Situated on an island in the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is a large city and the capital of the United Arab Emirates. A popular city for expats, Abu Dhabi has a small local population and attracts workers from overseas possibly due to it’s tax-free environment, warm climate and attractive lifestyle. There are many events taking place throughout 2016 which may bring more tourism to the city, such as the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix. This year, there is set to be a concert following the F1 race which may feature artists such as Enrique Iglesias and Blur amongst other musicians. As the arena is situated beside the Yas Marina Circuit, visitors may often sail to Abu Dhabi during this time to watch the Grand Prix from the comfort of their yacht. Other events taking place in Abu Dhabi this year are the ITU World Triathlon in March and the Abu Dhabi Art Festival, which aims to attract high calibre artists to the capital.
Besides large-scale events, Abu Dhabi has a variety of natural beauty, historical sites and heritage attractions to entice new visitors. Situated near the sea, tourists visiting the city may enjoy relaxing by the beach, learning how to kayak or cruising the Gulf in a traditional pearling boat. There are many sea tour excursions available, including dinner cruises in the evening and snorkeling trips to Abu Dhabi’s natural islands. Perhaps the most popular island in Abu Dhabi is Yas Island, which is home to the F1 racing circuit and the Yas Viceroy five star hotel. According to Abu Dhabi’s official tourist board, the Yas Viceroy is the only hotel in the world situated so close to an F1 racetrack and was built half over land and half over water.
In the desert, tourists may visit the Rub Al Khali, a massive desert area with ever-changing sand dunes. Here, visitors may enjoy experiencing a variety of desert activities such as dune dawn walks, camel trekking, campfire barbeques and more. For motor sports enthusiasts or those who enjoy driving, the Tel Moreeb (the world’s tallest sand dune) is a competitive spot for four-wheel drivers and quad bikers to play. In addition to this, visitors may visit the Tel Moreeb to sand board or sand ski down the sand dunes. Most of these activities may be arranged into a day tour which includes a traditional meal after sunset, or an overnight tour which may include camping or staying in a desert resort.
The wide variety of things to see and do in Abu Dhabi paired with it’s varied landscape of city, sand and sea may have the potential to capture the public’s interest as reported by ABTA. The possible improvements in accessibility to long-haul locations such as Abu Dhabi may be a key factor in attracting new visitors to the capital in 2016.
What other cities in the world are experiencing rapid development and urbanisation?