Abu Dhabi cuts fees to boost tourism, hospitality sectors
12 Mar 2019
Emiratis compete in a traditional rowing boat race, as part of Al Dhafra Water Festival, off the coast of Al Mirfa beach, Abu Dhabi. KARIM SAHIB / AFP
ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi has reduced tourism-related fees to help the ailing hospitality sector and attract more visitors as the oil-rich emirate looks to diversify its economy.
The Department of Culture & Tourism (DCT) said on Tuesday it has reduced tourism fees from 6 to 3.5 per cent, municipal fees from 4 to 2 per cent and municipality hotel room fees per night from Dhs15 ($4) to Dhs10.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates is investing billions of dollars in industry, infrastructure and tourism to diversify its economy away from oil.
Abu Dhabi is home to the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Warner Bros. world-themed indoor park and other attractions.
Two more museums, the Guggenheim and the Zayed National Museum, are being built.
Neighbouring Dubai welcomed a record 15.9 million tourists last year compared with Abu Dhabi's 10 million hotel guests in 2018.
The move to reduce the fees came on the back of a study on Abu Dhabi's hotels conducted by the DCT.
"The tourism sector is a key alternative to oil," said Saif Saeed Ghobash, under-secretary of DCT.
"It is necessary to support this sector as it experiences difficulties to allow it to contribute to the achievement of future goals.” The financial impact of the reduction in fees would be Dhs1 billion over the next three years, he said.
DCT also plans to spend 500 million dirhams over the next three years towards marketing the emirate and attract tourists, as part of the Abu Dhabi government's accelerators programme called Ghadan 21.