UAE. The number of hotel guests staying in Abu Dhabi’s 127 hotels, hotel apartments and resorts rose by 29% in January this year compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures released by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
Last month some 198,139 guests stayed in Abu Dhabi with the number of guest nights also rising, this time by 20% to 571,672.
“The strong increase in guest arrivals and guest nights appears to have been significantly influenced by January’s dynamic events calendar, which included the hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race and the fortnight of activities staged to coincide with it, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the World Future Energy Summit, which attracted some 650 exhibiting companies to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre,” explained Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
“Stays are also likely to have benefited from increased air access to the destination brought about by Etihad Airway’s recent launch of its four-times-a-week service from both Chengdu, China and Dusseldorf, Germany and the start of Air Berlin’s four weekly flights from its home base.”
Combined revenue for Abu Dhabi’s hotels rose 11% last month compared to January 2011 to AED408 million (US $111 million). Food and beverage revenue rose 18% during the same period to AED155.3 million (US $42.3 million).
Hotel occupancy stabilised at 66% - the same rate as January 2010 - though average length of stay was down slightly by 7% to 2.89 days and the average room rate dropped by 6% on comparative months to now stand at AED503 (US $137).
“This is all promising news on which to start the year given that the past 12 months has seen considerable additions to the destination hotel room inventory. Competition has heightened, yet new beachfront and golf course fronting properties are significantly enhancing our leisure appeal,” explained Al Muhairi.
“We also anticipate good results for February with the recent World Ophthalmology Congress having delivered significant bookings for the hospitality sector.”
Domestic tourism accounted for 18% of January’s hotel guest tally with the GCC producing the strongest regional increase of 120% in arrivals, primarily driven by a 218% rise in guests from Saudi Arabia who totaled 8,574 in all, accounting for 18,415 guest nights – a 22% rise on January last year. This led to the Kingdom now being ranked fourth in Abu Dhabi’s international guest ranking.
Other GCC countries also proved good source markets for Abu Dhabi with guest arrivals from Qatar rising 69% to 2,022 last month compared to January 2010, those from Kuwait increasing 65% to 1,541. Guest arrival from Oman climbed 57% to 2,699 while those from Bahrain were up 45% to 812.
India sustained its ranking as the destination’s second largest international source market, after the UK, with a 45% rise in hotel guests to 10,924 delivering 37,559 guest nights, which was up 17% month-on-month.
“We are hopeful of further improving on arrivals from India having recently hosted a major inbound familiarisation trip for a delegation from the Travel Agents Association of India, staged a five-city road show throughout the republic and completed a highly successful showing at the SATTE travel fair in New Delhi,” explained Al Muhairi.
European guests increased 30% last month on January 2010 with Germany turning in a strong 64% increase to 9,204 to make the country Abu Dhabi’s third largest international source market. The UK, produced a 15% increase to 13,005, France accounted for a 22% rise to 4,004, while Italy turned in a 20% surge to 3,556 while The Netherlands climbed 47% to 1,532.
China also returned a stellar increase in hotel guests for Abu Dhabi – rising 235% in January compared to the same month last year to deliver 4,407 arrivals, 7,339 guest nights, and taking the country to eighth in the emirate’s guest rankings.
“Prospects from China should increase further with the impending March 1st launch, by Etihad Airways of a daily non-stop service from Shanghai to Abu Dhabi International,” said Al Muhairi.