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Abu Dhabi tourists increase 10%

A tourist sits and looks at a camel at the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi. (FILE)

By Reuters

Hotel revenues jump to $517 million; average room rates down 15 pct on a year ago; most visitors from Britain, biggest rise from Russia

The number of tourists in Abu Dhabi rose 10 percent in the first five months of this year while hotel revenues were up 6 percent, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (Adta) said on Monday. 

Hotels in the capital of the UAE in the five months had 866,501 guests in the first five months of 2011, staying a total 2.6 million guest nights, said Adta. 

Revenues rose to Dh1.9 billion ($517 million) despite falling room rates, while the average hotel occupancy rate jumped to 71 per cent of capacity, an increase of 10 percent on the same period last year. 

Abu Dhabi, which accounts for around 55 per cent of the UAE economy, is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and infrastructure to diversify away from oil. 

The emirate is hosting more leisure and entertainment events such as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as well as major conferences and exhibitions as it looks to woo more visitors. 

The number of guests jumped 17.6 per cent to 1.8 million last year, while the annual hotels occupancy rate dropped to 64.7 per cent from 72.2 per cent in 2009. 

Average room rates are down 15 per cent year-on-year but the length of stay in the emirate rose by 15 per cent to just over three nights, Adta said. 

British nationals topped the list of guests with some 60,022 staying in Abu Dhabi's hotels in the five-month period, up 17 per cent year-on-year. The biggest increase came from Russia with a 46-per cent jump in the number of visitors to 6,323.