Abu Dhabi heads towards 3.1 million mark for tourists

Average hotel occupancy rates across the city rose to 74 per cent in the first 10 months, up from 68 per cent in the same period last year.
Emirati men drink tea in the lobby of the newly opened St Regis Hotel Nations Tower in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National
Emirati men drink tea in the lobby of the newly opened St Regis Hotel Nations Tower in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National

Abu Dhabi is on track to reach its target of 3.1 million tourists this year as visitor numbers increased by a quarter in the first 10 months to 2.8 million, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

“Given the packed events programme the emirate has in November and December, this upward momentum is likely to continue and this year’s guest arrivals target looks well within our means,” said Jasim Al Darmaki, acting director general of TCA Abu Dhabi.

Average hotel occupancy rates across the city rose to 74 per cent, up from 68 per cent in the same period last year.

Hotel revenues gained 14 per cent, reaching Dh4.9 billion, which included Dh2.5bn spent on rooms and Dh1.8bn on the food and beverage sector.

“The global economic situation is improving, which will boost tourism,” said Sanjay Modi, managing director for the Middle East at Monster, the recruitment website. “Tourism growth is having a positive impact on employment opportunities in the hospitality industry.”

A strong October boosted Abu Dhabi’s figures, as tourists made their way to the city ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix, which sold a record number of tickets – 60,000, up from 55,000 last year.

Length-of-stay fell slightly to 2.99 nights per tourist, however, down from just over three days per tourist last year.

Visitors from within the UAE increased by 22 per cent against the previous year. India was the emirate’s most popular source market, with inbound tourists increasing 33 per cent against the previous year.

The UK and Germany also delivered double-digit increases over the previous year, while visitors from Saudi Arabia increased by a third.

As Etihad expands routes between Abu Dhabi and major cities, tourist numbers are likely to increase. The airline now flies non-stop to San Francisco and is increasing the frequency of flights to Dallas, Vienna and Stuttgart.

Tourist authorities in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are increasing their workloads as they hope to drum up more business for the country.

TCA Abu Dhabi will next year take part in its largest number of tourism trade events so far, including 24 trade exhibitions and 13 roadshows across 34 cities in 25 countries.

“We are expanding our footprint to new markets – namely Serbia, South Africa, Holland and Azerbaijan while established roadshow product will be extended to take in new destinations, including Amsterdam,” Mubarak Al Nuaimi, the director of promotions and overseas offices at TCA Abu Dhabi, said last month.

Dubai launched a $20 million tourism campaign last month in a large number of developed markets.

The emirate aims to double room keys between now and Expo 2020, which a recent Deloitte report said would necessitate the building of 197 new hotels.

Dubai plans to have between 140,000 and 160,000 rooms on the market by 2020, up from 80,000 in 2012, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said last year.

abouyamourn@thenational.ae

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Published: December 8, 2014 04:00 AM

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