Guests from China to Abu Dhabi surged 60 percent to more than 372,000 in 2017, becoming the largest overseas tourist market of the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), local authorities said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, approximately 4.88 million visitors stayed in Abu Dhabi's 162 hotels and hotel apartments during 2017, representing a 9.8 percent year-on-year rise, said the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) of Abu Dhabi in an e-mailed statement.
DCT attributed the surge mainly to the easing of visa restrictions, as Chinese visitors now can get visas on entry in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi's government-controlled carrier Etihad Airways offers direct flights between the UAE capital and Chinese cities Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, as well as Hong Kong.
India is the second largest international source market after China, with more than 360,000 guests recorded in 2017, marking an increase of 11 percent.
Britain remains the largest European source market, registering a 13 percent rise to more than 270,000, while the U.S. market also shows a considerable rise of more than 23 percent.
"A near double digit year-on-year growth in the number of guests staying in all three regions of the emirate is testament to our drive and determination in helping the emirate evolve into a must-visit place on any traveller's itinerary," said Saif Saeed Ghobash, director general of DCT.