Abu Dhabi hotel guests rise 14% in first half of 2012

Emirate on track to receive 2.3 million guests annually

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 per cent over the same period of 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 in the emirate from January to June this year accounting for some 3,369,228 guest nights - an increase of nine per cent 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 of 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 per cent on June 2011 - helped achieve the record half yearly results.

"This year the entire hospitality chain 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 eight per cent on 2011. Total revenue was up by 2 per cent to Dh2.3 billion (US $631 million), some Dh921.8 million (US $251 million) came from food and beverage income, which was up by 11 per cent, while the Dh1.15 billion (US $314 million) room revenue was a 4 per cent 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 per cent to 71,465 with a 5 per cent drop in guest nights to 298,969, which still left it top of the international performance ranking. The US fell by 5 per cent to 40,857 guests and 11 per cent in guest nights to 219,772 and ranks fifth in the destination's international hotel guest performance league, while France fell by 3 per cent to 23,696 guests and dropped 11 per cent 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 per cent to 65,519 guests accounting for 234,043 guest nights, a rise of 15 per cent on 2011, making it the second largest overseas source markets, while Germany grew 44 per cent to 49,126 with a 40 per cent guest night growth leaving it in third place. Saudi Arabia performed well delivering 36,430 guests, up 36 per cent on 2011, who stayed for 79,307 guest nights - an increase of 37 per cent 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 per cent in guest numbers to 15,297 and 53 per cent in guest nights, while Russia climbed 31 per cent to 8,978 guests and 33 per cent in guest nights which totaled 51,824.

Hotel occupancy rate in Abu Dhabi over the six months dropped by 7 per cent to 65 per cent 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 per cent to 2.83 days and revenue per available room was down 15 per cent to Dh301.67 (US $82.2), again reflecting increased market competitiveness.

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