The number of hotel guests staying in Abu Dhabi during January rose 7.4% versus the same month a year ago, building on the success of a record-breaking 2017 when close to a total of five million people stayed in the emirate.
In total 437,228 hotel guests stayed in the emirate’s 162 hotels and hotel apartments during January, up more than 30,000 over the previous year, figures disclosed by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) revealed.
All three regions recorded an increase in hotel guests, Abu Dhabi up 6.3%. Al Ain Region, up 7% and Al Dhafra Region up 17.3%.
Multiple countries provided double-digit year-on-year growth in January, notably China (10.7%), India (31.5%), UK (19.1%), Saudi Arabia (15.4%) and the United States (36.1%).
The surge in Indian travellers to the emirate, which rose 11.5% in 2017 to total 359,000, continued in January with more than 34,000 Indian hotel guests staying in Abu Dhabi, an increase of 31.5% on the year. DCT Abu Dhabi has focused extensive marketing across India and held a number of roadshows in the country to attract more Indian travellers to experience the emirate. There are currently 282 flights a week to Abu Dhabi from 13 Indian destinations.
The uplift in Chinese guests, which numbered more than 35,000 in January, followed a remarkable 2017 when Chinese guest numbers rose 61% across the year to a total of 374,000 making it the emirate’s largest international source market. Again this was on the back of extensive and targeted marketing investment, as well as a range of initiatives in the UAE to facilitate Chinese tourists’ travel and comfort, such as visas on arrival granted at immigration.
Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, DCT Abu Dhabi, said: "We are building on last year’s success and have seen an impressive start to this year recording more than seven per cent year-on-year growth. Our tier one markets China, India, UK, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the US are performing particularly well with all of them recording more than 10 per cent growth in January.
"We continue to invest heavily in promoting the emirate abroad across our source markets, with our strategy paying dividends in attracting more hotel guests than ever before. We are targeting more guests by the end of the year and with our expanding portfolio of attractions across the emirate, including Louvre Abu Dhabi and the soon to be opened Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi theme park, we are confident of reaching this number and continue on towards our target of 8.5 million visitors by 2021."
Although hotel occupancy rates increased in January in Abu Dhabi’s 131 hotels, the Al Ain Region and Al Dhafra Region both recorded falls in their respective 20 and 11 hotels. Average length of stay for visitors dropped slightly across all three regions.
In order to make the emirate easier to navigate for visitors, while promoting Abu Dhabi’s cultural and heritage sites and providing the latest information, DCT Abu Dhabi recently launched its new digital initiative, ‘Abu Dhabi Culture’.
This digital platform provides a single and comprehensive point of reference for all of the emirate’s cultural assets, allowing users instant access to information, itineraries and video content. The platform comprises a website as the main hub, a Mobile App on both iOS and Android, a social media feeds via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube as well as Podcasts on Soundcloud and iTunes, which will feature weekly broadcasts of cultural topics and discussions with experts.
The Department has just led a large delegation of tourism partners and stakeholders to ITB Berlin (7th to 11th March) - one of the world’s largest tourism trade fairs - to capitalise on the strong start to the year and maintain record levels of inbound tourism from key European markets.