Abu Dhabi recorded an increase in the number of hotel guests in the first five months of 2018 and the emirate expects a bigger boost in visitor numbers in the remainder of the year as reduced tourist and municipal take effect this month.
The emirate hosted 2.1 million hotel guests from January to May, up nearly 5 per cent from the same period last year, across its 162 properties, the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT) said on Monday.
Visitors from China, India and the UK helped boost the numbers of hotel guests.
"We expect to see significant momentum across the tourism sector in the forthcoming months with Abu Dhabi summer season having begun in June, the opening of new leisure establishments and resorts such as Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island from July 25, and Jumeirah’s luxurious Saadiyat Island Resort in November," Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said.
Abu Dhabi has decided to slash hospitality-related fees starting from July 1. This will include a cut from 6 per cent to 3.5 per cent for tourism fees, municipality fees from 4 per cent to 2 per cent and lower the municipal fee for each hotel room from Dh15 to Dh10. The move aims to boost the emirate's tourism sector as part of efforts to diversify the oil-reliant economy.
“This decision encourages investments across Abu Dhabi’s tourism and hospitality sector," Ghobash said. "“It will also help us attract more visitors and increase occupancy rates, revenues and the average length of stay, and thus increase the tourism sector's contribution to the UAE’s GDP."
The emirate hosted 1.2 million hotel guests from January to March, up 10.9 per cent from the same period last year. In March, the number of international hotel guests rose 12.3 per cent from the same month a year ago, with visitors from Germany and the US growing in double-digits.
During the five-month period from January to May, hotel occupancy rate averaged 75 per cent, marking a 1.4 per cent increase year on year, the report said.
The average length of stay was 2.7 nights, an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.
Chinese tourists topped the number of visitors with a 19.9 per cent increase followed by Indian and British visitors.