The number of hotel guests in Abu Dhabi surged 15.2 per cent year-on-year in February, buoyed by an uptick in visitors from China as the emirate eases access to travelers to boost the number of visitors to 8.5 million by 2021.
A total of 405,849 visitors stayed at Abu Dhabi’s 162 hotels and apartments, an increase of more than 53,000 from February last year, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi said in a statement on Tuesday.
The growth was led by an upsurge in the number of Chinese visitors, which rose 83.6 per cent, followed by the United Kingdom with 31 per cent, India with 29 per cent, Germany with 23 per cent and the United States with 16 per cent. The number of visitors from France climbed 27 per cent likely due to the interest in the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the department said.
“The number of guests arriving from China, whether to enjoy our Chinese New Year celebrations or our extensive retail offerings or as a result of our investment in online campaigns, have contributed towards a significant boost in overall numbers for the emirate, with our other markets providing solid support,” said Saif Ghobash, director general of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. “A total increase for this month of more than 15 per cent sees us at ten percentage points ahead for this early part of 2018.”
Abu Dhabi expects six million hotel guests in 2018, as the emirate ramps up efforts to promote tourism, Mr Ghobash told The National last month
Abu Dhabi is vying to grow its travel and tourism industry despite global and regional headwinds. The capital received a record 4.4 million tourists in 2016, 8 per cent more from the previous year.
The emirate is benefiting from widening its arts and culture offerings with the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi – the only regional presence of France's famed museum. Abu Dhabi hopes to attract art enthusiasts and other visitors from around the world. The US dollar, which the dirham is pegged to, weakened by about 10 per cent against other major currencies last year, enticing more visitors.
“We will of course continue to invest in promoting the emirate abroad across all our key markets, with the expanding portfolio of attractions and events across the emirate at the forefront of that drive,” said Mr Ghobash.
“As ever, we have in mind a target of 8.5 million visitors by 2021, and we are pleased with progress up to this point. However, there is still work to be done, especially when we look at our average-length-of-stay and occupancy metrics.”