From The Report: Abu Dhabi 2013
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As one of the 12 strategic sectors identified in Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, tourism plays a central role in the government’s plan to reduce the economy’s reliance on the hydrocarbons industry. To this end, Abu Dhabi has invested heavily in the sector in recent years, creating more attractions to draw tourists, as well as building hotels and expanding the national airline. Indeed, the tourism sector has grown steadily, as reflected in the consistent increase in the number of hotel guests; the emirate hosted more than 2.1m visitors in 2011 alone. This figure is set to continue to rise, with the authorities targeting 3.2m by 2015. To cater for – and bring about – this uptick, the sector is witnessing major developments in entertainment, retail, global sports events and large corporate functions. The government is also keen to develop the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) segment, aiming to more than double its economic impact by 2020. This chapter includes an interview with Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Representative of the President of UAE and Chairman, Culture and Media Centre.