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Abu Dhabi’s Strategic Leap Forward in Global Accessibility

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Abu Dhabi is strengthening its global tourism profile with major infrastructure leaps, including a new airport terminal set to improve connectivity and visitor experiences in line with its expansive tourism vision.

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Abu Dhabi is doubling down on its infrastructure development, connectivity systems, and strategic partnerships in a bid to elevate its position on the global tourism map. The UAE capital recently inaugurated the Zayed International Airport Terminal A, an 8.4 million square feet (780,000 square meters) space equipped to serve up to 45 million passengers annually. The expansion will improve the emirate’s ability to connect with destinations worldwide, pushing it into a new era of global accessibility. 

SkiftX spoke with H.E Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, to understand how these developments align with the emirate’s broader tourism goals and impact the overall visitor experience.

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SkiftX: What does the opening of Terminal A at the Abu Dhabi International Airport signify in terms of strengthening Abu Dhabi’s connectivity to global travel hubs?

H.E Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani,
Undersecretary, DCT Abu Dhabi

H.E Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani: The new terminal supports our vision of welcoming the world to experience Abu Dhabi at its own pace. Terminal A is opening Abu Dhabi to new source markets and providing the capacity to handle more international passenger traffic. All aviation stakeholders are working in tandem to ensure that their ramp-up and growth strategies go hand–in–hand with our targets. An agreement has been signed with Air France-KLM to expand connectivity between Abu Dhabi and Europe.

Abu Dhabi is within a four-hour flight for one-third of the world’s population. At triple the size of the previous terminal and with flights to more than 117 destinations worldwide, Terminal A will increase the frequency and reach of flights to and from Abu Dhabi, boosting the emirate as a destination of choice for events, business, and entertainment. 

SkiftX: Besides the new terminal, what are some recent and upcoming infrastructure developments in Abu Dhabi that travelers should know of, and how are they enhancing the tourist experience?

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Al Hosani: Innovation in delivering the most fulfilling tourist experience remains a core priority for us. Among Abu Dhabi’s continually evolving entertainment hubs is Yas Bay Waterfront, located on Yas Island and home to Etihad Arena, a venue that hosts world-class concerts, sporting events, and more. Yas Island also features four indoor and outdoor theme parks: Yas Waterworld Yas Island, Warner Bros. World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, and SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. 

Several other attractions are set to elevate Abu Dhabi’s commitment to culture in the coming years, including the opening of the Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi, and the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi. Entertainment seekers will also be excited to hear that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be coming to Warner Bros. World, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Visitors can also experience the world’s biggest man-made wave at Surf Abu Dhabi in the near future.

SkiftX: What strategic partnerships have DCT Abu Dhabi recently entered that will transform its tourism market?

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Al Hosani: DCT Abu Dhabi and its partners will continue to make the emirate a top-of-mind destination to experience Emirati hospitality and a diverse range of leisure, entertainment, and cultural attractions. Abu Dhabi is a year-round destination where travelers can unwind in sun and sea resorts at pristine beaches or explore stunning natural landscapes, fun escapes, and contemporary culture, all within easy reach of each other.

Our partnerships with international organizations have led to exciting projects such as the NBA Abu Dhabi Games and UFC. Each time we work with our partners to host global sports franchises, it’s an opportunity to continue sharing Abu Dhabi with the world. Another area where we’re finding collaborative opportunities is film, with several blockbusters shot in the emirate, including the latest installment of Mission: Impossible, Dune Part 1 and Part 2, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

SkiftX: What new cultural experiences are on the horizon for Abu Dhabi?

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Al Hosani: Our events calendar, which was launched last year and featured more than 150 back-to-back events, is continuing throughout 2024 with weekly cultural, entertainment, music, and sports events. In every action, we strive to deliver on our promise to promote, protect, and progress Abu Dhabi as a cultural and tourism destination, create unforgettable experiences for our visitors, and build a brighter future of limitless opportunities for our youth.

The development of the Saadiyat Cultural District also continues to progress. The Cultural District will be the place to experience the living culture of Abu Dhabi, where the shared story of humanity will inspire visitors. 

SkiftX: How do you envision the future of tourism in Abu Dhabi, particularly in the next five to 10 years?

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Al Hosani: Our strategy aims to create new jobs, unlock investment opportunities, expand the emirate’s offering for tourists, and make Abu Dhabi a top-five global growth market. We will continue to shed light on the emirate’s many experiences, with a continued focus on Al Ain, which was chosen as the capital of Gulf Tourism for 2025. Al Ain features UNESCO heritage sites, thrilling adventure opportunities, and cultural activities.  

In the longer term, DCT Abu Dhabi will achieve its objectives through initiatives that span offerings and activations, promotion and marketing, infrastructure and mobility, visa, licensing, and regulations. Tourism is a vital economic pillar that will ensure the emirate’s prosperity for future generations.​ In addition, we remain committed to the UAE’s 2071 Centennial Plan, a roadmap for the next 50 years under our nation’s visionary leadership as we work towards becoming the best place in the world to visit, live, work, and be entertained.

To learn more about DCT Abu Dhabi, visit visitabudhabi.ae.

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This content was created collaboratively by Abu Dhabi and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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