Saudi Arabian surge boosts Abu Dhabi hotel numbers

A major influx of visitors from Saudi Arabia has helped Abu Dhabi post improving hotel figures

A 90 per cent increase in visitors from Saudi Arabia as regional unrest changes travel patterns, plus exhibitions and events, has boosted Abu Dhabi's hotel guest numbers by 17 per cent in February.

Last month, 175,309 guests stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels, according to figures released by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).

"The year-on-year February increase has been primarily driven by major events held in the emirate including the IDEX international defence show, the Al Ain Aerobatic Show and Gourmet Abu Dhabi," said Lawrence Franklin, the strategy and policy director at the ADTA.

Hotels saw occupancy levels rise 16 per cent to 77 per cent. Total revenue increased by 24 per cent to Dh440 million (US $120.5 million), while length of stay rose 10 per cent to 2.99 nights.

"There is also some evidence of shifting demand resulting from regional issues with hotel guests from Saudi Arabia rising by 90 per cent while there has been a tailing off of hotel guests from Qatar and Oman."

The number of guests from Saudi Arabia was up 90 per cent, with 6,950 tourists from the GCC country staying in Abu Dhabi.

Although growing from relatively low levels, there was also surge in visitors from Russia, up 88 per cent to 1,561.

Food and beverage revenue at the emirate's 115 hotels and hotel apartments increased by 20 per cent in February compared to the same month last year to Dh142.9 million ($39 million.)