Ramadan and Eid boost guest numbers by 26 per cent

The timing of Ramadan and Eid helped the number of guests staying in hotels in Abu Dhabi rise by 26 per cent in September compared with the same month last year, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) said yesterday.

Ramadan is based on the Islamic lunar calendar and moves by about 11 days each year.

Abu Dhabi has benefited from a 16 per cent rise in hotel guests in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year, while there has been a 14 per cent increase in the number of guest nights, says the ADTA .

But growth has still been outpaced by the number of new hotel rooms that have come on to the market. The ADTA said additional room capacity was continuing to affect overall occupancy levels, which fell 17 per cent in the first nine months compared with the same period last year, while average room rates were down by 21 per cent. The UK is the main overseas market for Abu Dhabi, with growth of 50 per cent in the first nine months of the year, to 83,239 guests.

"We are now well within striking distance of our 2010 hotel guest target of 1.65 million," said Lawrence Franklin, the strategy and policy director at ADTA. A 15 per cent increase in guest numbers is expected next year. "With the addition to our leisure stock of the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park … and with the emirate [hosting] major events such as this month's Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference and the first World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi conference and exhibition, the prognosis is good," said Mr Franklin.

For the first nine months of the year, 1,326,463 guests stayed in the emirate's hotels and hotel apartments.

Total revenue across Abu Dhabi's hotels is up but is shared among more properties.

"Revenue in September benefited from the same factors, it rose by 12 per cent on 2009," said Mr Franklin. "Year-to-date, food and beverage revenues recorded a 15 per cent growth. These have become an increasingly important factor, now accounting for 37 per cent of all revenues compared with 33 per cent this time last year."

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