Abu Dhabi's hotels are playing host to more visitors, as events help bring in more tourists to the capital.
The emirate saw a 5 per cent increase in the number of guests checking into its hotels in January.
The number of guests staying in Abu Dhabi's 115 hotels and hotel apartment buildings rose to 153,874 in January, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) said yesterday.
Visitors also spent longer in the capital, with the average stay increasing to 3.1 nights from 2.68 in January last year, and the total number of guest nights up by 22 per cent.
The vast majority of those who stay in hotels in Abu Dhabi are still business travellers but the authority is aiming to increase the proportion of leisure tourists.
"The growth in length of stay suggests that we are making inroads into our goal of attracting an increasing number of leisure guests, who traditionally spend more time in the destination than those staying purely for business purposes," said Lawrence Franklin, the strategy and policy director at the ADTA.
Hoteliers said the flows of visitors in the capital were picking up.
"There was a definite increase," said Sid Sattanathan, the general manager of the Holiday Inn in the capital.
"Abu Dhabi had the World Future Energy Summit, so in terms of Adnec working, the business projects coming online with infrastructure, all those things are helping."
Events such as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January helped bring in more visitors, the ADTA said. But although occupancy levels in the capital were up 9 percentage points in January from the same month last year to 66 per cent, average rates fell 26 per cent because of the increase in room supply in the emirate.
This resulted in a 3 per cent decline in total revenue to US$101 million (Dh370.9m), the ADTA data show. Room revenue was down 8 per cent to $55m. But food and beverage revenue increased by 5 per cent to $36m.
"Food and beverage continues to be the star of the sector, with some evidence that visitors are spending money saved on room costs in Abu Dhabi's increasing number of restaurant outlets," said Mr Franklin.
The number of guests from Europe was up substantially in January, with the number of visitors from Germany, the UK and Italy rising by 26 per cent, 14 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively, on the same month last year, the ADTA said.
The tourism authority, along with Etihad Airways, last month launched its Essential Abu Dhabi marketing campaign, which enables passengers travelling on the airline to take advantage of an array of deals in the capital.
The Yas Island Show Weekends are also helping to attract tourists, the ADTA said.
More hotels are expected to open in Abu Dhabi this year, including the Jumeirah Etihad Towers hotel plus a Rocco Forte property, and the St Regis and Park Hyatt hotels on Saadiyat Island.
Abu Dhabi is aiming to attract 2 million hotel guests this year, which requires a 10.5 per cent increase in guest numbers on last year, the ADTA said.
Hoteliers also reported a surge in business last month prompted by the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, with many hotels running at 100 per cent occupancy and pushing up rates for the event.