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Abu Dhabi hotels face pressure even with increasing guests

Occupancy and average room rates are down 6% and 8% respectively

Image Credit: Gulf News archives
The Beach Rotana Hotel. Abu Dhabi UAE.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Although more hotel guests have stayed in Abu Dhabi’s 137 hotels, resorts and hotel apartments from January to November end this year, the increasing room availability has put pressure on occupancy and room rates.

Occupancy is down 6 per cent year-on-year to 65 per cent; average room rates have dipped 8 per cent to Dh452.5 ($123) and revenue per available room is down 13 per cent to Dh293.48 ($80), according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

“Competition has put our luxury proposition in a very affordable bracket which will assist our ever increasing efforts to attract more guests and encourage them to stay longer,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.

The emirate saw an increase of 14 per cent in guests in January-November compared to the same period last year with guest nights running 11 per cent up on last year’s performance.

Hotel guest growth has been recorded across all key markets with the strongest coming from Africa, Asia and the GCC.

“This is extremely encouraging, particularly when viewed in the context of the significant number of rooms we now have available, which currently stands at 23,516,” he said.

Guest target

“We are very positive about achieving our 2.3 million guest target for this year, and ending 2012 on a satisfactory note while looking forward to attaining more guest gains during 2013 when we have a mainline attraction and new resorts opening.”

Abu Dhabi is gearing up for the January opening of the much anticipated Yas Waterworld waterpark and the opening of the luxury beachfront Ritz Carlton Grand Canal Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of this year.

Year-on-year hotel revenues in Abu Dhabi are up 6 per cent to Dh4.2 billion ($1.2 billion) with food & beverage accounting for Dh1.6 billion ($439 million) — a 12 per cent increase on the same period in 2011.

Internationally, the UK remains Abu Dhabi’s key overseas market for hotel guests. India is proving to be Abu Dhabi’s land of opportunity now ranking as the destination’s second largest overseas source market for hotel guests. Coming in third place is Germany.

“To date we have tested the water with participation in annual trade fairs in India and a yearly road show which have proved so worthwhile that we are now finalising the appointment of full-time representatives for the country, are planning a five-city New Year road show in partnership with Lama Tours, which has now opened an office in Abu Dhabi, to specifically target the Indian market,” Al Muhairi said.