Tourism Strategy 2030 delivered by DCT Abu Dhabi to catapult emirate as a top tourism destination

Tourism Strategy 2030 delivered by DCT Abu Dhabi to catapult emirate as a top tourism destination
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Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum, also known as Al-Ain Palace Museum, in Al Ain of Abu Dhabi emirate. (Supplied)
Tourism Strategy 2030 delivered by DCT Abu Dhabi to catapult emirate as a top tourism destination
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Above, kayaking at Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island. (Supplied)
Tourism Strategy 2030 delivered by DCT Abu Dhabi to catapult emirate as a top tourism destination
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Above, the National Aquarium in Abu Dhabi. (Supplied)
Tourism Strategy 2030 delivered by DCT Abu Dhabi to catapult emirate as a top tourism destination
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Above, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, the world's largest indoor theme park. (Supplied)
Tourism Strategy 2030 delivered by DCT Abu Dhabi to catapult emirate as a top tourism destination
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Above, women doing handicraft at Al-Qattara Arts Centre, an art and heritage destination allowing visitors to view art and experience it through art and creativity lessons. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 April 2024
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Tourism Strategy 2030 delivered by DCT Abu Dhabi to catapult emirate as a top tourism destination

Tourism Strategy 2030 delivered by DCT Abu Dhabi to catapult emirate as a top tourism destination

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, has approved the new “Tourism Strategy 2030” for the emirate. Spearheaded by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, the ambitious blueprint signals a new era of expansion and strategic development in the travel and tourism sector.

The strategy seeks to boost visitor numbers from nearly 24 million in 2023 to 39.3 million by 2030 (overnight and same-day), with a 7 percent year-on-year growth. Moreover, it plans to significantly elevate the tourism and travel sector’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP, raising it from approximately 49 billion dirhams ($13.3 billion) in 2023 to 90 billion dirhams annually by 2030.

The strategy will generate an estimated 178,000 new jobs by 2030 as the entire tourism infrastructure develops to meet this demand. It intends to almost double international overnight visitors from 3.8 million in 2023 approximately to 7.2 million in 2030, expand hotel room availability from 34,000 in 2023 to 52,000 by 2030, and further enhance the holiday home segment to diversify accommodation options.

Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The Tourism Strategy 2030 marks a pivotal moment in Abu Dhabi’s transformative journey, representing a vital lever in our ongoing evolution. Delivered alongside our key partners, the strategy underscores our steadfast commitment to fostering sustainable growth and strategic development in the travel and tourism sector. Through carefully crafted initiatives that will unlock economic opportunities, amplify our distinctive culture and enhance the emirate’s value proposition, we are laying the foundation for a vibrant and prosperous future that transcends generations.”

Fostering sustainable growth across four strategic pillars

To achieve the strategy’s goals, 26 key initiatives have been identified across four strategic pillars: Offering and City Activation; Promotion and Marketing; Infrastructure and Mobility; and Visa, Licensing, and Regulations. These pillars form the foundation of Abu Dhabi’s comprehensive approach to realizing its ambitious tourism targets and fostering sustainable growth in the sector.

The initiatives will be unlocked through the collective vision of DCT Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Department of Municipalities and Transport, Abu Dhabi Airports Company, and other key government and private stakeholders, who play a strategic role in bringing Abu Dhabi’s tourism vision to life.

The first pillar, Offering and City Activation, looks to further enhance the overall guest experience by unveiling additional cultural sites, theme parks, retail offerings and new hotel chains, as well as boosting the emirate’s events calendar of year-round concerts, festivals, and family events. The dining landscape will diversify significantly, offering expanded options including the introduction of culinary schools and training programs.

DCT Abu Dhabi will also more than double its Promotion and Marketing efforts, expanding its international reach from 11 to 26 markets and enhancing synergy within Abu Dhabi’s tourism ecosystem. It will also establish strategic global partnerships with media outlets and well-known brands for high-profile collaborations, creating compelling, market-specific content across various touchpoints.

The strategy’s Infrastructure and Mobility pillar will increase hotel room availability across various categories, including accessible and luxury options, glamping, and farm stays. Through valued collaborations, the emirate is set to enhance roads, public transport, and infrastructure, simplifying travel within and boosting visitor inflow through increased flight seat capacity with both local and international airlines.

Lastly, both visitor experience and tourism business operations will be greatly enhanced with streamlined Visa, Licensing and Regulation processes. In collaboration with relevant government agencies, enhanced platforms and processes will reduce time frames for all applications and permits, to improve the ease of doing business and attract investment.

Building on the success of 2023

In 2023, Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector saw a remarkable surge, welcoming nearly 24 million visitors. The 27 percent rise in hotel guests and 54 percent increase in international guests bolstered the economy with an approximate 49-billion-dirham contribution to the UAE’s GDP.

Arrivals from key international markets like India, Russia, the UK, China and Saudi Arabia, played a pivotal role in 2023. The emirate’s vibrant array of over 150 events, its pristine beaches and natural landscapes, as well as its cultural sites such as Qasr Al-Hosn, Qasr Al-Watan and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, attracted more than 8.7 million visitors. Offerings across museums, cultural festivals and art exhibitions saw record-setting attendance, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the inaugural Manar Abu Dhabi public art exhibition, underscoring the emirate’s diverse appeal.

Visitor numbers were further boosted by a 44 percent increase in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions events. With 960,000 delegates across 2,477 events exploring Abu Dhabi’s attractions and dining options, the food and beverage sector saw a resultant 21 percent revenue increase. In addition, flagship entertainment events like the MOTN Festival and Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, along with cultural milestones such as the Al-Hosn Festival and the Liwa Festival, further solidified Abu Dhabi’s position as a global center for leisure and tourism.


Jeeny to swap 50% cars for EVs by 2028, full electrification by 2030

Jeeny to swap 50% cars for EVs by 2028, full electrification by 2030
Updated 26 May 2024
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Jeeny to swap 50% cars for EVs by 2028, full electrification by 2030

Jeeny to swap 50% cars for EVs by 2028, full electrification by 2030

Saudi ride-hailing app Jeeny plans to swap all its cars for electric vehicles by 2030. Speaking at a media gathering in Riyadh on Wednesday, Hammad Ehtesham, Jeeny’s CEO, said: “At Jeeny, we are dedicated to sustainability: we will swap 50 percent of cars for electric vehicles by 2028 and aim for full electrification by 2030, supporting the government’s green initiatives and investing in the necessary infrastructure.”

Speaking to Arab News about the company’s contribution to Saudi Vision 2030, Ehtesham said: “Jeeny’s vision for the Kingdom is clear, we aim to integrate various mobility options within a single app, support the Saudi government and relevant authorities in achieving the objectives of Vision 2030, and reduce the carbon footprint of Jeeny and the overall transportation industry.”

“We aim to deliver unparalleled service quality across the Kingdom, ensure transportation is accessible and affordable for everyone, minimize cancellations and enhance car availability to provide the best transportation services in the region, and collaborate with regulatory authorities,” he added.

When asked if replacing regular cars with electric vehicles will cost extra to the riders, Ehtesham said: “In fact, it will be more profitable for the drivers, the prices will be unchanged for the riders, and it will help reduce the carbon footprint. I can say this from our experience in other countries.”

The CEO said that to meet the diverse needs of passengers in the Kingdom, Jeeny has introduced three distinct ride-hailing services: Ecolite — offering a quick and affordable ride, Smart — a reliable and convenient ride, and Elite — offering luxury and comfort.

“This strategic expansion allows us to cater to a broader audience, enhancing accessibility and satisfaction across the Kingdom,” Ehtesam added.

“Our mobility solution includes ride-hailing services across the Kingdom, facilitating seamless intercity transport. We offer diverse routes and integrate with metro and micro-mobility options for an efficient, interconnected travel experience,” said Ehtesham.

Earlier, making a powerpoint presentation at the media gathering, Ehtesham said that since launching their private car service in 2016, Jeeny has made significant strides: it has created more than 80,000 income opportunities for Saudi nationals, and continuously improved services to meet evolving user needs.

During the presentation, he said Jeeny was able to give back to society by supporting Saudization goals, as the company’s drivers are Saudi citizens.

Jeeny has undergone a remarkable evolution over the years, significantly enhancing both service offerings and the app itself.

Initially launched as Easy Taxi, the service onboarded 100,000 drivers across the Kingdom, greatly improving taxi services with features such as standardized pricing, car cleanliness, monitored driver behavior, enhanced security and safety, reducing idle kilometers, and boosting driver earnings.


Honor unveils ‘four-layer AI strategy’ at VivaTech

Honor unveils ‘four-layer AI strategy’ at VivaTech
Updated 26 May 2024
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Honor unveils ‘four-layer AI strategy’ at VivaTech

Honor unveils ‘four-layer AI strategy’ at VivaTech

Global technology brand Honor made its debut at VivaTech, one of Europe’s largest tech and innovation events. During its keynote, the company showcased its innovative approach to on-device AI and unveiled its “four-layer AI strategy.” Honor also announced upcoming gen-AI experiences with Google Cloud, which are set to be featured on its upcoming smartphones.

“At Honor, we firmly believe that, by combining the power of on-device AI’s personalization, intuitiveness, and privacy protection, everyone can unlock the full potential of AI safely and securely,” said George Zhao, CEO of Honor Device Co., Ltd. “We are also delighted to forge ahead with Google Cloud, leveraging our combined expertise to unlock the potential of this hybrid approach and deliver even more seamless AI experiences to our users.”

During the keynote, Honor unveiled its four-layer AI architecture and demonstrated its strategic focus on integrating AI into MagicOS. This four-layer architecture comprises distinct layers. At the base layer, Cross-device and Cross-OS AI form the foundation of an open ecosystem, which allows the sharing of computing power and services among devices and operating systems. Building upon this foundation, the Platform-level AI layer enables a personalized operating system, allowing intent-based human-computer interaction and personalized resource allocation. At the third layer, App-level AI is poised to introduce a wave of innovative, generative AI applications that will revolutionize user experiences. Lastly, at the top, the Interface to Cloud-AI services layer provides users with easy access to massive cloud services while prioritizing privacy protection, creating a truly holistic and future-forward AI experience.

Honor also announced that the upcoming Honor 200 Series will revolutionize portrait photography by bringing the mastery of Studio Harcourt, a legendary French photography studio known for its expertise in capturing classic portrait shots with iconic figures. 

The series will leverage AI technology to recreate the iconic studio’s legendary lighting and shadow effects.

By using AI to learn from a vast dataset of Studio Harcourt portraits, the Honor 200 Series has successfully broken down the entire portrait photography process into nine distinct steps, and perfectly replicates the full Studio Harcourt method, ensuring flawless and studio-quality portraits with every shot.

The Honor 200 Series is set to launch in Paris on June 12.


LuLu brings taste of British summer to Saudi Arabia

LuLu brings taste of British summer to Saudi Arabia
Updated 26 May 2024
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LuLu brings taste of British summer to Saudi Arabia

LuLu brings taste of British summer to Saudi Arabia

LuLu Hypermarket is celebrating summer with an array of British foods and other products in its “Best of Britain” festival. A range of seasonal goods, traditional favorites and top beauty products and fragrances is offering customers in Saudi Arabia the great taste of British summer.

The festival, which began on May 15 and runs until May 25, was formally inaugurated by British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton, at LuLu’s branch in the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh. 

With nearly 5,000 British items on its shelves, the LuLu stores are well stocked with a selection of popular and premium British products, many of which are on promotion for the festival. The event also spotlights the launch of 35 new products from six leading British brands. LuLu currently showcases 605 popular British brands.

The popular annual festival gives people in Saudi Arabia the opportunity to enjoy the extraordinary variety and high quality of British food produce and beauty brands. Shoppers will be able to make the most of the finest British summer treats, from freeze-packed berries to teas, British organic milk, cheeses, flavorsome yogurts and specialty breads. The promotion is running across the entire chain of LuLu outlets in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Crompton said: “I am pleased to inaugurate this year’s British food festival in LuLu. With the popularity of British FMCG goods growing, I understand there has been a growth of 25 percent in imports between 2022 and 2023. We have seen exciting growth in our range of goods, especially our organic range, our biscuits and chocolate. Over the last few years, this event has been very successful and I am particularly pleased that the festival is being held with active support from LuLu’s British subsidiary, the award-winning logistics and packaging center in Birmingham, which is a vital part of the LuLu Group’s strong partnership with the UK.”

Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Saudi Hypermarkets, thanked the British Embassy for their support, saying: “The LuLu Group’s Birmingham logistics and warehousing facility services our entire global hypermarket chain. LuLu Hypermarket’s long and delicious list of British products has won accolades from shoppers and our growing sales figures show that. Besides special promotions on British products, LuLu Hypermarket turns a spotlight on British food, cheeses and drinks from the UK that shoppers can enjoy.”


5th MENA Construction Summit spotlights sustainable project delivery

5th MENA Construction Summit spotlights sustainable project delivery
Updated 25 May 2024
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5th MENA Construction Summit spotlights sustainable project delivery

5th MENA Construction Summit spotlights sustainable project delivery

The fifth MENA Construction Summit 2024, the region’s premier event bringing together key construction industry stakeholders, was held last week at Hilton Riyadh Hotel and Residences. The summit, organized by MEED and Enso Events Solutions, focussed on the effective delivery of key regional construction projects on time, in budget and with elevated standards of sustainability and efficiency. Riyadh Region Municipality was the diamond partner for the MENA Construction Summit 2024.

Inspired by ambitious national visions, construction spending is surging across the MENA region, driven by huge master plan developments and Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects program. The convergence of a number of factors, however, including the need for intricate supply chain management, urgency due to time-sensitive roadmaps, simultaneous execution of multiple projects and funding complexities, has forced a rethink of the traditional approach to project delivery.

Under the theme “Reimagining Project Delivery,” more than 600 attendees from over 150 companies gained actionable insights into the latest trends, research, innovations, opportunities, and challenges driving improvements in productivity, quality, reliability, cost-savings, waste reduction, and energy efficiency — and how these methods can be employed in ground-breaking projects across the region.

In the opening keynote fireside chat, Fahad Al-Solaie, deputy mayor for digital transformation and smart cities, Riyadh Municipality, was interviewed by Dr. Abdulrahman Albawardi, assistant professor at King Saud University, in the session titled “The Transformation of Riyadh City under Saudi Vision 2030.” Al-Solaie discussed innovative and sustainable urban planning strategies for the Riyadh Municipality, in line with the giga- and mega-projects, and the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

Al-Solaie said: “To support the city development, the municipality is planning to enable aerial management of construction projects using drones with AI capabilities, which will enhance project delivery efficiency and assist in monitoring the project staff safety on the project site.”

Later in the morning, the keynote leaders panel session provided a deep dive on the opportunities and complexities of smart city development, and the need for a holistic approach that addresses social, economic and environmental sustainability. Panelists included Hani Rizkallah, president — KSA infrastructure at Bechtel; Dr. Hossam Abdel Gawad, vice president of technology and innovation at SETS; Dr. Mohammed Al-Surf, founder and president of Sustainability Professionals of Saudi Arabia; and Sherief Elabd, director — industry and innovation strategy at Oracle.

Sessions were delivered by more than 30 speakers in a series of engaging formats, including insightful keynote presentations, interactive panel discussions, and networking sessions designed to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange.

All parts of the broader construction ecosystem were represented at the summit including government stakeholders, project owners and developers, contractors, architects, engineers, consultants, digital technology specialists, material suppliers, equipment and software service provider solution companies.

“We are excited to bring together construction industry leaders and experts at the MENA Construction Summit 2024 to change the way we look at project delivery of major construction projects across MENA,” said Ed James, head of content and research MEA at MEED — GlobalData. “By sharing knowledge, best practices, and innovative solutions, we aim to catalyze positive change.”


Bentley Saudi Arabia unveils Batur Convertible

Bentley Saudi Arabia unveils Batur Convertible
Updated 25 May 2024
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Bentley Saudi Arabia unveils Batur Convertible

Bentley Saudi Arabia unveils Batur Convertible

Bentley Saudi Arabia has unveiled the third coachbuilt Bentley of the modern era — the Batur Convertible. Created by Mulliner, Bentley’s in-house bespoke division and the longest standing coachbuilder in the world, the Batur Convertible follows the exquisitely hand-crafted Bacalar barchetta and Batur coupe. With the Batur Convertible, Mulliner continues its long tradition of crafting truly individual cars, tailored to the wishes of each of its clients.

The Batur Convertible furthers the innovative design DNA introduced by its coupe sibling that will ultimately guide the design of Bentley’s future cars. The Batur Convertible retains the most powerful version of Bentley’s iconic W12, with a 750 PS and a hand-assembled 6-liter twin-turbocharged engine that has metaphorically and literally powered Bentley’s success for the last two decades. With the engine to finish production this summer, the Batur Convertible will be one of the last ever Bentleys to use this incredible powertrain.

Bentley has a rich history of open-cockpit cars, from the very first Bentley of 1919, through the company’s foundation years in the 1920s, to the most recent — the Bacalar. The architecture of the Batur Convertible has allowed Mulliner’s designers to seize the opportunity to create a theme that not only blends the design of the Bacalar and Batur but includes the usability of a convertible. The designers also chose to highlight the two-seater character with a “wraparound” cockpit inspired by the design of the Bacalar.

Bentley Saudi Arabia’s customers will be able to specify the color and finish of practically every surface of the Batur Convertible, to create a car as individual as they are. Beyond the exterior form of the car lies an almost endless array of choices for each car’s future owner to make.