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July 1, 2014

Middle East: Record five-month performance for Abu Dhabi’s hotel sector

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The number of guests checking into Abu Dhabi’s 155 hotels and hotel apartments reached a record high for the five months from January to May this year, with occupancy levels registering an eight percent rise over the same period in 2013 to touch 78 percent.

In terms of number, the emirate’s hospitality sector welcomed 1,435,932 guests in the first five months of this year, statistics released by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) show. The figure is a 30 percent increase over the corresponding period in 2013. The January-May guest tally translated into 4,375,395 guest nights, which was up 22 percent year-on-year. 

Hotel revenues rose 14 percent to AED2.6billion (USD728.6 million) with food and beverage income climbing 12 percent to just over AED1 billion (USD277.6 million).

“Overall, the performance makes for good reading though there are two areas of concern – the average length of stay and the average room rate, both of which have dipped on 2013,” said Jasem Al Darmaki, Deputy Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.

The average-length-of-stay slipped by six percent to just over three nights while the average room rate slid four percent to AED448 (USD122).

“There are increased and enhanced products now coming into the market to give people more compelling reasons both to visit and to stay longer,” Darmaki said. “And the average room rate now represents exceptional consumer value. We will be pushing these messages out vigorously through all our marketing and communications channels across our entire local, regional and international trade and media networks.”

The first five months have seen 30 percent growth in domestic guests coming into Abu Dhabi while among international guests India is now the top performing source market for the emirate. From January to May, 89,761 Indians checked into Abu Dhabi’s hotels, which was up 38 percent year-on-year. The Indian guests delivered an uplift of 20 percent in guest nights to 340,981 with an average length of stay of 3.8 nights.

The UK is the emirate’s second most productive market, with 85,956 Britons staying in Abu Dhabi in the first five months of 2014 – a 28 percent rise over 2013. The British guests accounted for 369,781 guest nights, which was up 18 percent and stayed, on average, 4.30 nights.
Germany came in third in terms of international delivery with 59,821 Germans checking in, a seven percent increase. The Germans delivered 284,839 guest nights, an eight percent rise, and stayed, on average, 4.76 nights.

In percentage terms China, which is now the emirate’s fourth most productive overseas source market, delivered the biggest increases. Some 52,392 Chinese stayed in Abu Dhabi from January to May, which was a jump of 204 percent. They delivered 94,806 guest nights, which was up 180percent over last year and stayed, on average, 1.81 nights.

“We have high hopes of building on the interest from China with arrivals – which were totally focused on group business – now increasingly branching out into FIT,” explained Al Darmaki.
Russians remain Abu Dhabi’s longest stayers, averaging 6.22 nights in the emirate.

“We are poised to achieve our 2014 guest arrivals target of 3.2 million and anticipate increased business from Australia and Italy with Etihad Airways’ planned launch this July of new routes to Perth and Rome,” added Al Darmaki.

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