Abu Dhabi has recorded its most successful year ever in terms of hotel guest arrivals with more than 2.11 million people staying in the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments – beating its 2011 target by 6.5 per cent.
Annual growth was recorded across a number of key metrics including: guest nights, which were up 22 per cent to 6.3 million; occupancy levels which rose 7 per cent to 69 per cent; revenue, which rose 3 per cent to Dh4.375 billion ($1.2 billion) and length of stay which expanded 5 per cent to 2.97 nights.
Room revenue increased by 2 per cent to Dh2.3 billion ($631 million), though the average room rate slipped by 14 per cent to Dh490 ($133), while food and beverage revenue increased by 6 per cent to Dh1.605 billion ($434.721 million).
“This is a highly encouraging result in a year which has seen substantial additions to our hotel and resort inventory, including several five-star beach properties opening up Saadiyat Island to guests,” said Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).
“There is a clear correlation between this increase, our opening of offices in Russia and the US, our heightened focus on the Asian markets, a vibrant calendar of world-class events, increased air access with the arrival into Abu Dhabi of new carriers and the expansion of Etihad Airways’ network and a substantial increase in cross-network marketing undertaken by the arrival of major new hospitality brands. “It leaves us well placed to build for 2012 for which we had initially target 2.3 million but, in conjunction with stakeholders, will now reassess to see if this too, can be stretched.”
December delivered a bumper return for Abu Dhabi with some 207,723 guests checking into the emirate’s hotels – a 26 per cent rise on December 2010 and the highest achieving month of the year.
“We attribute the strong December performance to people taking their seasonal festivity breaks in the emirate and staying for the lead up to the New Year’s celebrations,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, ADTA. Domestic tourism accounted for 39 per cent of overall 2011 arrivals with the GCC, including the UAE, making up 45 per cent of hotel guests. Non-GCC Arab countries accounted for 11 per cent, Asia 14 per cent and Europe 18 per cent.
“Within the GCC, Saudi Arabia performed particularly well for us with guest numbers climbing by 58 per cent to 60,991 making the Kingdom our sixth largest international source market,” said Al Muhairi. “Kuwait has also demonstrated huge potential with numbers from the state increasing by 36 per cent to 15,898, Qatar increasing by 11 per cent to 22,898 and Oman growing by 10 per cent to 25,088.”