Abu Dhabi hotel guests exceed 1.3 million in third quarter, buoyed by ‘world-class events’

Total number of tourists staying in the emirate’s hotels expected to breach a record 5.1 million by the end of 2019

Helicopter point of view of sea and skyscrapers in Corniche bay in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Turquoise water and blue sky combined with building exterior.
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There were more than 1.3 million Abu Dhabi hotel guests during the third quarter of this year, an increase of 1.7 per cent on the same period in 2018, the emirate’s Department of Culture and Tourism said.

In the first nine months of the year, there have been almost 3.8 million hotel guests, a 2.9 per cent increase on the same period last year. The total for 2019 is expected to reach a record 5.1 million, “which would represent a healthy 2 per cent increase over 2018”, said Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi.

Hotel revenue for the third quarter was Dh1.1 billion, an increase of 1.7 per cent from the same period last year. Hotel occupancy was up 4 per cent to 69 per cent, while the average length of stay increased 5.6 per cent to 2.5 nights.

“These Q3 results are especially impressive as summer is traditionally a quieter time in the region’s tourism industry, and the numbers have been underpinned by some truly exceptional events which have served to elevate Abu Dhabi’s global standing and reputation,” Mr Ghobash said.

The results were buoyed by several “world-class events”, the DCT said. Events that took place during the quarter included the inaugural Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, capped off by UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) 242 attended by close to 14,000 fans. It marked the first UFC event in a five-year partnership with DCT. With 40 per cent of the tickets purchased by the international market, that event alone accounted for more than 5,000 hotel room nights in the emirate, Mr Ghobash said.

The July to September period also included the first Middle East version of the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), part of a five-year deal between DCT and Nickelodeon owner Viacom. Other events taking place included Summer in Abu Dhabi and Eid Al Adha celebrations.

When compared to the same period in 2018, guests from Oman increased 18.6 per cent, Indian guests by around 8 per cent, UK guests by 5 per cent and Saudi Arabian guests by 2 per cent.

The hotels on Saadiyat Island and in the ADNEC area performed exceptionally well, increasing occupancy rates and average lengths of stay. Nearly 45,000 visitors stayed on Saadiyat in the third quarter, about a 70 per cent increase from last year, and revenue increased by close to 50 per cent. Hotels in the ADNEC area boosted revenue by nearly 35 per cent.

In the first three quarters, total hotel revenue was up 8.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2018 to Dh4bn.

India is the number one overseas source market for Abu Dhabi, with more than 321,000 hotel guests in the first nine months of the year. China accounted for more than 297,000 visitors to the emirate. The UK came in third, with more than 190,000 Britons staying in Abu Dhabi hotels.

“With exciting events and activations planned for the rest of 2019, including the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Art, ADIPEC 2019 and the New Year’s Eve performance of global superstar Bruno Mars, we are confident that we will indeed see another definitive year in terms of visitation to the UAE capital,” Mr Ghobash said.