2012 H1 delivers record hotel guests for Abu Dhabi on track for 2.3 million yearly target

Abu Dhabi: A total of 1.189 million guests stayed in Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments during the first six months of this year showing an increase of 14% on the same period last year.

Figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism ‘&’ Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) show in all 1,189,995 guests checked into hotels and hotel apartments throughout the emirate from January to June this year accounting for some 3,369,228 guest nights – an increase of 9% on the comparative six months of 2011.

“This is a very encouraging performance which leaves us well on track to attain our yearly target of 2.3 million guests,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi. “The task ahead is to maintain the momentum but we are relatively confident of doing this as we look forward to a season ahead packed with major events, including the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Art and the planned November opening of Yas Waterworld – which will be the UAE’s largest water park – and will further heighten the entertainment proposition of Yas Island. In addition, we anticipate Abu Dhabi’s hosting, this September, of the 18th World Routes Development Forum bringing a significant number of aviation and airline senior personnel to the UAE capital.” A stellar June performance of 205,950 hotel guests – figures this year were up 17% on June 2011 – helped achieve the record half yearly results.

“This year the entire hospitality chain, supported by significant numbers of service and attraction suppliers, came together with the Authority to mount a concerted summer campaign which offered compelling incentives to come to Abu Dhabi over summer. This co-ordinated campaign would appear to have paid off to some degree and leaves us positioned for closer collaboration in the future,” added Al Muhairi.

Over the first six months of the year, Abu Dhabi achieved over 2.5 million room nights – an uplift of 8% on 2011. Total revenue was up by 2% to AED 2.3 billion (US $631 million), some AED 921.8 million (US $251 million) came from food and beverage income, which was up by 11%, while the AED 1.15 billion (US $314 million) room revenue was a 4% dip on 2011.

Most key markets returned an increase in hotel guests over the six months with the exception of the UK, USA and France. The UK slipped 2% to 71,465 with a 5% drop in guest nights to 298,969, which still left it top of the international performance ranking. The US fell by 5% to 40,857 guests and 11% in guest nights to 219,772 and ranks fifth in the destination’s international hotel guest performance league, while France fell by 3% to 23,696 guests and dropped 11% in guest nights to 83,087, to stand as the ninth largest overseas market. The number of Indians staying in Abu Dhabi’s hotels rose 31% to 65,519 guests accounting for 234,043 guest nights, a rise of 15% on 2011, making it the second largest overseas source markets, while Germany grew 44% to 49,126 with a 40% guest night growth leaving it in third place. Saudi Arabia performed well delivering 36,430 guests, up 36% on 2011, who stayed for 79,307 guest nights – an increase of 37% over the six months making it the destination’s sixth largest source market outside the UAE.

The emerging markets of China and Russia recorded promising returns. China grew 84% in guest numbers to 15,297 and 53% in guest nights, while Russia climbed 31% to 8,978 guests and 33% in guest nights which totaled 51,824.

Hotel occupancy rate in Abu Dhabi over the six months dropped by 7% to 65% largely due to an increase in room inventory- Abu Dhabi now has some 128 hotels and hotel apartments accounting for 22,079 rooms. The average length of stay slipped 5% to 2.83 days and revenue per available room (REV PAR) was down 15% to AED301.67 (US $82.2), again reflecting increased market competitiveness.