By Andy Sambidge
Ruler announces shake-up for tourism industry as UAE capital posts record for hotel guests
Abu Dhabi has announced a shake-up in its tourism sector which sees a new authority formed to oversee the UAE capital's next stage in becoming a holiday hotspot.
UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as the ruler of Abu Dhabi, has issued a law establishing the Abu Dhabi Authority for Tourism and Culture.
The new authority replaces the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), state news agency WAM reported.
All assets and staff of the two entities will be transferred to the new authority, it said.
The new authority will seek to build on the Gulf emirate's record tourism performance in 2011 which saw 2.11 million people check into its hotels, beating its target of attracting two million guests by more than 110,000.
Hotel revenue jumped to AED4.4bn, bolstered by a 30 percent rise in visitors from India and a 15 percent surge in tourists from China.
The new body will be charged with preserving, protecting and managing the cultural heritage of the emirate, and promoting tourism development in Abu Dhabi.
The establishment of the new body is part of a plan for tourism development in Abu Dhabi, where local heritage is considered a priority.
The Abu Dhabi Authority for Tourism and Culture will organise conferences, exhibitions and festivals, and will issue licences for such activities, WAM added.
It will also set up and manage a tourist information centre in the emirate.
The authority will also develop policies, plans and programmes related to the preservation of heritage and culture, including the establishment of museums.
Last month, Abu Dhabi said it was once again pushing back the opening of local branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim art museums, after a fresh review of the projects.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi, a spin-off of the famous Paris museum, will now open in 2015 while Abu Dhabi's branch of New York's Guggenheim, will open in 2017, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) said in a statement.
The Zayed National Museum will open in 2016, the statement said. All the three museums were originally scheduled to open between 2013 and 2014.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS TO ABU DHABI TOURISM SECTOR , TO FIND SUCH APPRECIATION OF THE TRUE VALUE OF OUR INDUSTRY BY THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY IN THE LAND NONE OTHER THAN THE PRESIDENT IS MOST ASSURING -