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Abu Dhabi hotel guests exceed target by 8%

Introduction of exciting leisure products, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, new golf courses, the Yas Island Show Weekends boosts hotel occupancy in Abu Dhabi

Breaking new grounds
Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Hotels across the emirate have announced good results.

Abu Dhabi: Almost 1.8 million people stayed in Abu Dhabi's 114 hotels and hotel apartments last year — an increase of 18 per cent over 2009, according to the latest figures from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). Abu Dhabi also beat its hotel guest target by 8 per cent and the average length of stay has increased to 2.8 nights.

"The introduction of exciting leisure products, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, new golf courses, the Yas Island Show Weekends, the ongoing maturity of the emirate's international events calendar and the launch of new MICE events, such as World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi, helped ensure a very successful final quarter and the destination's best hotel guest performance yet," said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director-General, ADTA.

"The authority itself stepped up its destination marketing in 2010 with increased media engagement, the roll out of our international advertising campaign, participation in 20 international trade fairs and the opening of a dedicated promotional office in down-town Beijing," he said.

According to ADTA report, the UAE guests accounted for over 40 per cent of the market generated. There was also continued growth from the GCC with rise in guests from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. Internationally, Abu Dhabi's main growth markets were the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Australia and China.

"While our traditional source markets continue to perform well, emerging markets are increasingly making their presence felt," Al Muhairi said.

Despite the hotel guest increase, revenue remained static at Dh4.2 billion with rates becoming more competitive. ADTA's 2011 tourism agenda is currently hoping to deliver 1.9 million guests staying in around 22,000 hotel rooms and contributing 11.1 per cent to the emirate's overall non-oil GDP.

Hotels across the emirate have also announced good results for 2010. For Abu Dhabi-based Rotana, 2010 recorded an average occupancy rate of 74 per cent and it expects occupancy to go up by 9 per cent this year over 2010.

With investments over 800 million dollars in both the GCC and Middle East region, Rotana's key area for growth has been the mid-tier market.

"One of the key areas for growth that we are currently addressing is the mid-tier market, for which we developed the Centro Hotels by Rotana brand," said Omer Kaddouri, Chief Operating Officer of Rotana Hotel Management Corporation.

However, according to Peter Goddard, Managing-Director of TRI Hospitality Consulting, keeping those numbers up year on year is going to be a challenge.

Goddard told Gulf News that there are currently 22 hotel projects that are currently under construction in Abu Dhabi. "We forecast both rates and occupancies to soften in 2011 and we expect this trend to continue into 2012 and 2013."

So while visitors are likely to go up, occupancy will still drop from 70 per cent to about 60 per cent because demand will not keep up with supply, he said.