Catching it from its neighbour? More visitors checking into Abu Dhabi's hotels

Published October 29th, 2013 - 08:29 GMT
Average room rate in Abu Dhabi in the first nine months of this year has fallen 2 per cent on last year and now comes in at Dh419 ($114).
Average room rate in Abu Dhabi in the first nine months of this year has fallen 2 per cent on last year and now comes in at Dh419 ($114).

Abu Dhabi has received just short of two million hotel guests in the first nine months of this year and September saw year-on-year increases across a number of key performance indicators.

Figures just released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) show that last month, the destination received 226,002 hotel guests – a 19 per cent rise on September last year, with guest nights achieved rising 26 per cent to 714,577.

“Although obviously pleased with the increase in guest numbers, particularly given we now have 13 per cent more rooms available than this time last year, we are also greatly encouraged by an increasing trend towards longer stays by individuals with the average-length-of-stay now reaching 3.16 nights – which is a 6 per cent rise on September last year,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, TCA Abu Dhabi.

“We have focused strongly this year on convincing visitors that there is now much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi emirate – as evidenced by a slew of resort and attractions openings this year and we will continue to build on this proposition as we target an average-length-of-stay of over the four night mark.”

Average room rate in Abu Dhabi in the first nine months of this year has fallen 2 per cent on last year and now comes in at Dh419 ($114).

The September guest intake means that in the first nine months of this year, Abu Dhabi, which now has 148 hotels and hotel apartments offering 25,671 rooms throughout the emirate, received 1,981,732 guests – a 14 per cent increase on 2012.

Guest nights achieved from January to September end came in at 6,195,319 – up 25 per cent year-on-year. Average-length-of-stay for the first nine months has risen 10 per cent to 3.13 nights while occupancy rose 8 per cent to 68 per cent.

Hotel revenues in the first nine months jumped by 18 per cent to Dh3.7 billion ($1 billion) of which F&B income contributed Dh1.5 billion ($395.9 million) – an increase of 17 per cent. Revenue per available room (RevPar) moved up 6 per cent to Dh285 ($114).

“We look forward to strong returns from October when hotels benefitted from the Eid Al Adha break and, of course, from the final quarter overall as we approach a hectic season of major events, including the headline Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and a range of events and attraction offerings planned for the UAE National Day weekend,” added Al Muhairi.

Guest arrivals from within the UAE inched up 3 per cent in the first nine months delivering a 27 per cent increase in guest nights to 1,586,875 and a 23 per cent increase in length-of-stay to 2.3 nights.

“We still have a way to go in convincing domestic visitors of the sheer diversity of our offering and that there is much to discover in the wider emirate – and with planned additional attractions due to come on line in both Al Gharbia and Al Ain, we hope to begin to rectify this,” said Al Muhairi.

“We have also introduced attractive packaging around our major events – including December’s Al Ain Aerobatic Show and January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship whereby guests staying in hotels in the emirate gain free entry to both.”

India is now the destination’s largest overseas source market for hotel guests with 121,763 Indians checking into the emirate’s hotels in the first nine months – a year-on-year uplift of 24 per cent. In all Indian guests delivered 490,175 guest nights – which is up by 30 per cent while their average-length-of-stay crept up 5 per cent to just over four nights.

The UK is now the emirate’s second largest overseas source market with 109,330 Britons checking into Abu Dhabi hotels in the first nine months of this year – a 10 per cent rise on 2012. The British guests accounted for 518,571 guest nights – an increase of 21 per cent year-on-year with an average-length-of-stay of 4.74 nights – again up 10 per cent on the year.

Germany ranks in third place for source market prominence. The 83,694 Germans who stayed in Abu Dhabi’s accommodation from January- to September end this year represented a rise of 25 per cent year-to-date. They delivered 405,496 guest nights – which is up 35 per cent on the comparative period and stayed, on average, 4.84 nights – which is up 7 per cent.

The GCC is performing well for Abu Dhabi with Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait all ranking among the emirate’s top 20 international source markets.

“A rising trend is also South Korea which has now made it to our top 25 market listing recording a 27 per cent increase in arrivals year-on-year, a 44 per cent increase in guest nights and with a 13 per cent rise in the average-length-of-stay,” explained Al Muhairi.

“We are quietly confident of reaching our year-end target of 2.5 million hotel guests anticipating a busy final quarter boosted by seasonal advantages, an increase in MICE and convention business and arrivals attracted by the destination’s back-to-back events programme

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