Guest arrivals into Abu Dhabi in the first six months of the year numbered more than 1.98 million, a rise of 17% on the corresponding period in 2014.
These guests generated 5,728,765 guest nights in the emirate’s 163 hotel and hotel apartments, an increase of 11% on the previous year, figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) reveal.
Total revenue for hotel establishments recorded an 8% increase to AED 3.346 billion (US$ 911 million), room revenue increased by 11%, food and beverage revenue increased by 1%, while other revenues – which includes services such as venue hire and business events – rose 22% to AED 402 million (US$ 110 million).
June 2015 showed an increase of 2% in hotel guests when compared to June of last year, with the 268,335 hotel guest arrivals generating an exceptional leap in guest nights of 13% to 870,304.
“We set ourselves a challenging guest arrivals target of 3.9 million hotel guests for this year, which we are very confident of achieving, especially given that our highly impressive half-year figures show double digit growth,” said Jasem Al Darmaki, Acting Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“We remain committed to actively improve the average length of stay of our guests which has fallen by 5% over the comparable period in 2014. We have a series of high-profile events coming up to entice our guests to spend more time here including our new extended 2015/16 season of Abu Dhabi Classics, the annual F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Art, and anticipate the traditionally strong second half of the year performance will pull average length of stay back up closer to three nights.”
Domestic tourism from within the UAE which accounts for a third of all guest arrivals has shown impressive year-on-year growth of 14%, with a stellar performance from the Western Region’s 10 hotels recording a 48% year-on-year increase and a rise of 103% in its June arrivals. Hotspots such as the dedicated nature reserve of Sir Bani Yas Island – winner of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destination accolade at the 2014 World Travel Awards – remain popular choices for domestic tourism guests.
India has regained its spot as Abu Dhabi’s largest international source market seeing 127,312 Indians arriving into the emirate – an increase of 18%, spending an average 3.71 nights each, well above the overall average of 2.89 nights.
India is closely followed by the UK, China, Germany and the United States as largest overseas markets, with the Philippines providing 63,855 guest arrivals, recording a 24% rise. Other counties in the top ten include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan.
Chinese guest numbers rose 72% year-on-year with 102,217 guest arrivals delivering 148,842 guest nights, although their length of stay dropped by 18% to 1.46 nights.
Later this month Abu Dhabi hosts the fourth MeetChina summit of the People’s Republic’s leading tour operators, travel agents and media representatives dedicated to enticing even more Chinese visitors into the emirate, and encourage them to package more Abu Dhabi product to extend their clients’ stay.
Abu Dhabi is also the first destination within the Middle East and North Africa region to participate in the Welcome Chinese programme – an emirate-wide initiative providing services dedicated to Chinese travellers. Twenty hotels, two attractions and a luxury shopping mall have already achieved Welcome Chinese certification from the China Tourism Academy, helping to swell guest arrivals.
Russian guests showed the largest drop, by 10%, to 14,453 guest arrivals, attributable to difficult economic conditions in their home country. To stimulate consumer interest and awareness from Russia and the CIS states, a special Abu Dhabi Festival featuring a host of the emirate’s tourism providers will be held in Moscow ‘s Hermitage Gardens later this month, dedicated to emirate’s culture and traditions and vibrant sports and events calendar.