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Cultural Tourism in Abu Dhabi

Cultural Tourism in Abu Dhabi

Executive Summary

Cultural tourism in Abu Dhabi has been on the rise for many years due to several important driving factors. A relatively stable political climate, investment in infrastructure, marketing and promotions, technological innovations and many other factors have made Abu Dhabi one of the best cultural tourism sites in the 21st century. Many companies and different organizations have fully immersed their energies in the tourism sector making it successful. However, most of these organizations act independently of each other reaping benefits at a personal level. Tourists have frequently visited some sites compared to others making preservation exercises difficult to maintain. Other companies in the tourism industry have not been able to break in the market. The independence of most companies in this sector does not contribute to the industry’s growth. The paper offers the establishment of a specific department to integrate the activities of different players in the tourism sector. This will essentially mean bringing together all parties including airline companies, travel agencies, tour guide companies, and other companies involved in the tourism management of Abu Dhabi. An integrated system based on partnerships between companies in the airline system, hotels, and tour agencies will be developed. This partnership will serve to directly link tourists to specific settings. The above system will also check the areas that are frequented on a daily basis and apply rehabilitative measures to ensure the sites remain in their best form. This way, it will act as an oversight body that guarantees that cultural and heritage sites are not overused. All criticism will also be dispatched to the above system.

External Environment

Most tourist activities in the world are largely associated with cultural activities since they encompass the mixing of different cultures across the globe. The majority of countries that rely on tourism as one of the main revenue income generating areas have primarily focused on the development and management of cultural tourism. This form of tourism encompasses several activities including the preservation of cultural heritage sites and cultural artifacts such as artworks and buildings as well as the preservation of a country’s heritage on the whole (Cooper & Hall, 2008). Each country across the entire continent aligns itself with a specific culture. When this culture is marketed and unique forms that differ it from other places are identified, then it becomes a major site for the attraction of other communities. In the Middle East, Abu Dhabi stands out as one of the major cities with a rich cultural heritage that has been preserved and passed on over the years. Thus, Abu Dhabi is famous for its emirate culture and heritage. Since different countries have diverse cultures, cultural tourism is the predominant form of tourism across the globe.


Macroenvironment analysis will provide key information on the factors that affect cultural tourism in Abu Dhabi. A PEST-D analysis will identify all the factors in the macroenvironment that play a major role in cultural tourism. The factors under investigation are political, technological, social and, economic as shown in the table below:

Political factors

  1. The United Arab Emirates is politically stable compared to other countries in the Middle East, thus providing the best cultural environment for cultural tourism (GOV et al., 2016).

  2. The country has a specific policy and framework governing the preservation of heritage sites.

  3. The government is more liberally minded when it comes to promoting tourism (Stephenson, Russell, & Edgar, 2010).

Economic Factors

  1. Tourism is a key pillar of the UAE economy (Dhabi, 2005).

  2. Less imposition of taxes and customs duties as well as incentives for more people to come to Abu Dhabi.

  3. Elimination of trade barriers in the country

  4. Improved security.

  5. A growing economy is rarely affected by economic slump downs.

  6. High levels of foreign direct investments into the country (Stephenson et al., 2010).

Social Cultural Factors

  1. The country’s population is largely Islamic though there is a large influx of other nationals. Laws that have been formulated allow for the interaction of all people (GOV et al., 2016)

  2. No cultural conflicts.

  3. Friendly and warm people.

  4. Lavish form of living among the people (Dhabi, 2005)

Technological Aspects

  1. Ranked as one of the most developed countries in the Middle East.

  2. Most governmental processes, as well as those in the private sectors, are digitalized (GOV et al., 2016)

  3. Growing population on social media platforms.

  4. Good connectivity services to the Internet.

Porters Five Forces

The Porter’s Five Forces tool specifically investigates the competitive nature of the current market. The analysis below illustrates competition within the industry as well as substitute services, suppliers, buyers, and new entrants in the market.

Industry competition

Cultural tourism remains the most competitive form of tourism in Abu Dhabi. This is due to the competition between many different forms of cultural tourists. For example, art galleries and museums in Abu Dhabi largely compete for the tourists attracted to cultural sites and centers. Also, travel agencies in Abu Dhabi facilitate traveling activities for tourists (Prayag & Hosany, 2014). In addition, private organizations have some of these facilities, thereby competing with most of the governmental services.

Substitute services

There exists a very low threat of substitute services as more families and people within Abu Dhabi prioritize traveling over using some of these services (GOV et al., 2016). Travel has greatly moved up in comparison to other spending commodities. This explains the increase in tourists visiting Abu Dhabi in recent years.


In this case, the major supplier is the airline companies and tourist services that are the first to come into contact with most tourists. Cultural sites or centers that have integrated their services with suppliers can attract more tourists compared to other centers (Davidson, 2007). Other suppliers competing with the above system include car rentals, tour operators, and hotels services. All these services available in Abu Dhabi will determine the number of tourists visiting the country.

Buyer Bargain power

Most buyers in the market are fragmented and move to the appropriate site in Abu Dhabi that caters for their needs. The important factors to buyers bargain power is brand loyalty. Currently, there is a new attraction site that is exquisite and meets the needs of the consumers; more buyers will plead their loyalty to such centers (Dhabi, 2005). Taking into consideration that people in Abu Dhabi have a lavish lifestyle, they can afford some of the sites mentioned above. People who come from different countries and can afford such services will also identify their most preferred sites.

New Entrants

There are many barriers, which limit other companies coming to Abu Dhabi, thereby increasing its role in the cultural tourism industry. One major limitation is the fragmented cultural tourism sector with well-established players in the market. Nonetheless, governmental regulations allow the establishment of other companies that will serve to compete with the present companies in the market.

Driving Factors

There are several factors that drive cultural tourism in Abu Dhabi. The first is the presence of the cool climate in Abu Dhabi. The area falls under the dry weather, which is preferable for most tourists, considering the climate in other areas such as Europe and North America where it alternates throughout the year. Secondly, the cultural practices of the people living in Abu Dhabi are unique. Although the greater part of the population living in Abu Dhabi are Muslims, they have specific cultures which include the celebration of events and other holidays that attract tourists to the area (GOV et al., 2016). Thirdly, the country is more developed in terms of infrastructure that includes the airline system, hotels, and tour services. Also, the museums and art galleries are well preserved compared to other areas. Some famous museums include the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum, and the Emirates National Auto Museum (Hammadi, 2009). Fourthly, the country has enjoyed a relative period of peace and political stability though it is considered a continent that has been ravaged by war. In the capital city of the UAE, most of the tourist organizations and facilities are located within the city. Also, the country has numerous historical sites and a diverse community displaying their unique culture. Close to 20% of the total population is made up of Emiratis while the remaining population is made up of people from Pakistan, Europe, and Bangladesh (Hammadi, 2009).

Strategic Group Map

The strategic map outlines the performance of one division within the other fields and compares them based on a certain feature. In this case, the analysis of the entire tourism sector was carried out. The key factor that was considered in the above case was the pricing ranges between different forms of tourism present in Abu Dhabi. The diagram below shows that recreational and adventure tourism are largely associated with high prices while the other forms of tourism, including cultural tourism, are associated with lowered prices. This information provides a baseline for the comparison of different tourist activities and at the same time offers new alternatives that could be investigated in the future.

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Key Success Factors

There are six different key success factors contributing to the development of cultural tourism in Abu Dhabi. First, Abu Dhabi has developed a brand name linked to finer tourist activities. In addition, adequate marketing has been conducted to promote its tourists sites so that more people across the continent would like to visit them. As a result, more people are visiting Abu Dhabi and its cultural sites. Secondly, most of the cultural sites are well preserved and associated with the best form of services. Most services in the country have been integrated to ensure a smooth transition of tourists into the new environment. Third, Abu Dhabi has enjoyed a period of political stability (Hammadi, 2009) what permits a favorable and conducive environment for all cultural tourism activities (Dhabi, 2005). This also contributes to the development of a brand name. Fourthly, currently, there are more incentives provided by the government and other players across the private and public institutions tasked with the management of tourism (Sharma & Dyer, 2009). These incentives have assisted more companies in their business, thereby increasing the number of tourists coming to the country. Another major factor has been the use of marketing tools and more so the media in promoting the area as one of the best tourists locations across the world (Davidson, 2007). The media has been at the forefront advancing several locations on the international television station. Today, more people attend annual holidays in Abu Dhabi, with the media covering weddings in historic sites, due to extensive marketing. Another factor that has considerably facilitated the development of cultural tourism is the laws guiding the country. Although the country largely remains an Islamic state, the laws allow the interaction of different people regardless of their religious practices.

Industry Profile and Attractiveness

Due to its well-established system, cultural tourism remains one of the most attractive forms of tourism in Abu Dhabi and, probably, one of the best contributors to the revenue of the country. To make it even more effective, it is necessary to integrate all the services most of which are operating independently in the market. Thus, the future of the industry is rather bright.

Idea Generation and Development

To join the league of other nations that are reaping enormous benefits from cultural tourism, Abu Dhabi should consider developing an integrated system in the market that will directly link the tourists to different hotels, airline facilities, and tour guides. In essence, most of the tourist’s guides and the other facilities exist as private entities. If the tourism division established a department that brings all players on board, it could ensure efficient services in the tourism sector. Ideally, tourists would only be required to make contact with the department; as a result, they would directly be linked to different facilities be it airlines, hotels, or tour guide activities. This would also ensure a fixed number of tourists at specific cultural or heritage sites where they could enjoy the services offered. The body would also oversee that no cultural centers are involved in any form of resources exploitation. It will also determine which sources should be rehabilitated. This practice has been applied in different countries, mostly in African ones, especially for tourists interested in Safaris (Cooper & Hall, 2008). The development of an integrated system will ensure that all services in the tourism sector are efficient in their operations. The above system will guarantee that all tourists will be well-taken care of when they arrive in Abu Dhabi, thereby developing a good brand name for the country. The major issue will be the competition within the system and the continuous expansion of the system as more tourist start arriving in the country.

Tangible Resources


  • Firms cash


  • State-of-the-art department dealing with tourists


  • Digitization and integration of all tourists companies


  • Excellent strategies to control tourists organizations


Intangible Resources


  • Experience

  • Managerial skills

Innovation and Creativity

  • Technical,

  • scientific skills


  • Brand name

Organizational Capabilities

  • Exceptional customer service

  • Innovativeness

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Estidama Framework

The Estidama framework highlights the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 that is built on several pillars including sustainability in the economy, culture society, and the environment (GOV et al., 2016). The effect of the above proposal has the following effect on the framework:


Protects the environment by ensuring that all activities associated with tourism are compliant with the environmental standards.


Since tourism is the major economic activity and income earned it sets the country towards the achievement of its economic goals


Preservation of the community culture through the establishment of a body overseeing all its activities.


Protects the interests of the community by preserving their cultural interests and establishing an oversight body controlling all the cultural centers.

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The above project will remain significantly sustainable in the long run since it will be able to incorporate all the new players entering the tourism industry. Ideally the project will ensure that the number of tourists in the nation increases at a given rate while preserving the country’s heritage. The project is feasible provided all the players agree on the above framework. Since there are many different players in the above sector it would only be fair if all of them come under one body to accomplish the goals of the formed unit. By integrating all their functions together achievemnt of the 2030 goals will be readily achieved.