Abu Dhabi on track to meet 2012 hotel guest target

Abu Dhabi: The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has welcomed 1.37 million hotel guests between January and July showing an increase of 11 percent over the corresponding seven month period last year and remains well-placed to meet its annual target of 2.3 million.

“While traditionally lower travel rates during the Holy Month of Ramadan saw Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments return a 6% drop in year-on-year hotel guests for the month of July, the average length of stay – a key growth focus – rose to 2.84 days last month, an increase of 6% on the corresponding month last year,” the Abu Dhabi Tourism ‘&’ Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) said today in its latest figures.

In total, some 178,099 guests stayed at Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments in July, returning 504,982 guest nights – 1% down on the comparative month last year. The number of room nights dipped 4%, falling to 359,465 from the 373,254 tallied last July. Seven-month figures for guest nights and room nights show year-on-year increases of 7% and 6%, respectively.

Food ‘&’ beverage revenues – a key source of accommodation sector income – remained constant at AED98.1 million to ensure seven-month takings are 10% up on last year, totaling AED 1 billion.

“We remain on track as we enter our traditional busy season. With a packed entertainment schedule of world-class events and a host of new leisure attractions due to open across the emirate, including the UAE’s largest water park, Yas Waterworld, we are confident momentum will rise and we’ll reach our 2.3 million hotel guest target,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.

Asia displayed the strongest year-on-year hotel guest increase last month at 17%, followed closely by Europe at 12% and North America at 10%. Asia’s contribution was primarily driven by growth from Russia, which rose a staggering 128%, China (up 70%) and India (up 24%).

July also saw Germany re-establish itself as Abu Dhabi’s fastest-growing European source market – and eighth largest in total – as it contributed 5,380 hotel guests for the month, a year-on-year jump of 46%.

July’s best performing source markets were the UAE, which contributed 73,104 hotels guests, India with 10,753, the United Kingdom with 8,195 and Saudi Arabia with 7,235. In an effort to further boost inbound visitation from the Kingdom, TCA Abu Dhabi last week concluded its largest-ever promotional road show across three Saudi cities.

After seven months of the year, strong domestic custom ensures the UAE continues to top the 2012 table of total hotel guests at 522,141 a 6% increase over the same period last year – followed by the United Kingdom at 79,660 (down 2%), India at 76,272 (up 30%) and Germany at 54,506 (up 45%).

“We’re encouraged by consistently strong growth across emerging international markets this year. Having already activated our earliest and biggest Abu Dhabi Grand Prix promotion across more than a dozen international source markets, our aim now is to leverage more than 10 international exhibitions across Asia, North America and Europe to build visitation through to December,” added Al Muhairi.

“In addition, the encouragement of new markets through road shows in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and the opening of a dedicated LAMA Tours ‘&’ Holidays office here to target the burgeoning Indian market, should see increased tourist numbers from non-traditional source markets continue to swell.” With Abu Dhabi registering a 16% jump in total hotel room inventory over the last six months, hotel occupancy in July stood at 55% – a 16% drop on last year. Elsewhere, revenue per available room (REV PAR) was 22% down on last July. In the first seven months of the year, overall REV PAR has shown a 16% year-on-year fall.

Abu Dhabi now boasts 128 hotels and hotel apartments accounting for 22,800 rooms. The figure is expected to exceed 24,000 by the end of the year.