Abu Dhabi hotel guests surge 6.8% in second quarter

Emirate sees Q2 hotel guest numbers rise to record 1.2 million on visitors from Saudi Arabia and India

Abu Dhabi record a rise in hotel guests to1.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. Courtesy of DCT.
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Abu Dhabi received 6.8 per cent more hotel guests in the second quarter, on an influx of visitors from Saudi Arabia and India.

A record 1.2 million visitors stayed in hotels in the capital in the three months ending June, boosting second-quarter total hotel revenues 3.7 per cent to Dh1.2 million year-on-year, the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) said on Sunday. Hotel guest numbers rose 24.6 per cent in June compared to the same month last year, pushing up revenue per available room (RevPar) by 23.8 per cent.

"Aside from our promotional campaigns ... we can also point to the events and deals we have implemented for the summer months, the exciting programme of city-wide activities over the Eid Al Fitr holidays, and the stopover promotions we are offering alongside our airline partners, as factors that have contributed to a record-breaking year so far in terms of hotel guest numbers," said Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi has slashed tourism-related fees to stimulate its hospitality sector, set up a Dh600m fund to attract entertainment and business events, and built tourist attractions such as the Louvre museum and Warner Brothers theme park to draw more tourists.

The growth in the number of hotel guests was led by a 23.6 per cent rise in visitors from Saudi Arabia and 15.8 per cent increase in tourists from India, while other key markets such as the UK and USA showed "positive growth", the DCT said, without providing further figures.

Abu Dhabi is investing billions of dollars in industry, infrastructure and tourism to diversify its economy away from oil. The government announced the Ghadan 21 programme, a Dh50 billion package of reforms, to stimulate the local economy. The measures are aimed at attracting investors and top talent to work, invest, visit and live in Abu Dhabi.

The DCT said visits to Abu Dhabi's key attractions were up 50 per cent in the second quarter, without providing specifics. This was mainly because of a 62 per cent rise in visitors to theme and leisure parks, a 21.5 per cent increase in cultural and historical sites and a 22 per cent boost for museums.

Hotels in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Saadiyat Island were among the top performers by occupancy and revenues, the DCT said.

The DCT is "confident" of tourism growth in the second half of the year, despite the typically slower summer season in the Arabian Gulf, as it rolls out promotions at shopping malls and events such as the three-day Taste of the Capital showcasing the best restaurants, top chefs, live music and leading food and drink brands, and the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mr Ghobash said.