The international tourism and meetings campaign being waged by Abu Dhabi has received two major shots in the arm this week. The capital of United Arab Emirates got some major love from TripAdvisor, which ranked Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi city as the world’s No. 4 top attraction.
Then today in Lorient, France, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing clinched the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race with one leg left in the 11-stop, 38,739-nautical mile around-the-world journey. Sailing is a significant part of Abu Dhabi’s rich heritage, and the fact that Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority backed the team reflects the lengths the DMO is going to promote the destination.
I attended a fam trip to Abu Dhabi last spring to participate in the 2014 Gulf Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM). The mosque is as spectacular as it has been portrayed and has potential to unite people of different faiths, which is part of the inspiration for the monument.
One look at Abu Dhabi’s amazing port on the Persian Gulf and it’s easy to understand why the tourism authority decided to enter a boat in the around-the-world race. Abu Dhabi even served as one of 11 ports in the nine-month event, hosting the world’s elite sailors during Christmas and New Year’s Eve stopover.
“I can’t wait to speak to the people in Abu Dhabi,” said winning skipper Ian Walker earlier today. “They give us so much support and I bet they are going crazy about this result.”
There’s tons to be excited about right now in Abu Dhabi, which has been ranked as the third fastest-growing destination city overall between 2009 and 2015 by MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque welcomed 4.3 million visitors and worshippers in 2014, making it the single-most visited tourism attraction in the emirate.
“The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an architectural masterpiece which welcomes visitors from across the globe, and it is a remarkable feat to be recognised among the world’s most illustrious structures and historical sites,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director of tourism at Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. “Prospects for the future also look good, stimulated by rapid growth of the emirate’s tourism sector by travel from within the GCC, Europe, the USA and particularly from east Asia, where we hope to continue to capitalize on the strong growth in visitor numbers from the outbound travel market from China.”