Outperforming Dubai? Abu Dhabi records 25% surge in tourists

Published February 15th, 2015 - 04:58 GMT

Abu Dhabi’s hospitality sector witnessed a positive growth last year with guest arrivals reaching 3,494,063 – a year-on-year rise of 25 per cent. Guest nights climbed 19 per cent to reach 10,463,137.

“The industry has performed extremely well, surpassing our 3.1 million guest target and with significant growth being recorded in occupancy and revenues,” said Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman, TCA Abu Dhabi.

Total hotel revenues rose 14 per cent to Dh6.28 billion ($1,712 billion) with room revenue accounting for Dh3.26 billion ($889 million), which was up 15 per cent on 2013 while food and beverage income climbed 11 per cent to Dh2.33 billion ($637 million).

“Despite these encouraging results there remains room for improvement, notably a dip in length of guest stay and a slight slip in average room rate, which we are actively addressing with the industry,” said Jasem Al Darmaki, acting director general, TCA Abu Dhabi.

Hotel occupancy for the year came in at 75 per cent, which is up 6 per cent on the comparative period.

The emirate’s current average-length-of-stay fell 4 per cent from 3.13 to 2.99 nights and the prevailing average room rate is Dh442 ($120).

Domestic tourism continues to perform well for Abu Dhabi, with hotel guest numbers from within the UAE exceeding a million for the first time, accounting for almost a third of all arrivals – an increase of 20 per cent on 2013.

India remains Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market for hotel guests, posting a 32 per cent increase and eclipsing its stellar 2013 performance figures to reach 231,702 guests, delivering 850,443 guest nights – which was up 23 per cent.

UK was the second largest overseas producer with 203,788 Britons checking into the emirate’s hotels last year - a 25 per cent lift on 2013. British arrivals accounted for 877,162 guest nights – 15 per cent more than 2013 with an average length of stay of 4.3 nights, down 8 per cent from the 4.68 night peak of the previous year.

Germany held its position as the third largest overseas source market with 138,604 hotel guests – a 16 per cent uplift on 2013. Germans delivered 631,179 guest nights, which was up 8 per cent on the previous year.

The US surged from seventh to fourth most productive market on the back of a 37 per cent increase, delivering 123,196 hotel guests, with one of the longest staying averages at 4.94 nights, narrowly missing out to Russia which posted an average length of stay of 5.3 nights.

China delivered the highest percentage growth – of 166 per cent in arrivals and 145 per cent in guest nights, elevating it to the emirate’s fifth most productive overseas market.

Regionally, arrivals from the GCC rose by 25 per cent, with Saudi Arabia as Abu Dhabi’s top performer. Arrivals from the kingdom rose 32 per cent year-on-year.

Within the emirate, the 10 three-, four- and five-star hotels of the Western Region (Al Gharbia) were bolstered by an increase in average length of stay, bucking the trend and posting a 10 per cent increase to 3.43 nights, generating a 22 per cent increase in guest nights.

Guest arrivals to the emirate’s heritage heartland city of Al Ain also posted an 11 per cent increase.

“Indications are that 2015 will provide a more challenging operating environment, but we are committed to drive the sector to work together to excel,” said Al Darmaki.

“Our expanding international tourist footprint will provide further opportunity to identify areas for growth, and the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi later this year will be seen as a significant milestone in setting Abu Dhabi’s position at the heart of the global cultural tourism agenda,” he said.

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