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Abu Dhabi welcomes more hotel guests in 2012

While occupancy hotel has dipped 7 per cent, the emirate has welcomed 15 per cent more visitors this year

Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
The tourists at the reception at Park Rotana Hotel near Khalifa Park in Abu Dhabi.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: More guests have stayed in hotels in Abu Dhabi for the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to the numbers released by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi). 

Some 1,741,330 people stayed in the emirate’s 131 hotels and hotel apartments — a 15 per cent increase on the same period last year, the TCA’s report said. 

According to Christopher Hewett, a consultant with TRI Hospitality Consulting, this can be attributed predominantly to an increase in Etihad passenger arrivals. “The airline recorded a 34 per cent increase in passenger numbers during the first half of 2012 as a result of the airlines expansion into new destinations and its growing network of code share and partners,” Hewett told Gulf News. “Etihad’s new agreement with KLM-Air France is expected to further boost passenger numbers as the airlines work to align routes, frequent flyer programmes and capitalise on new destinations.”

Average-length-of-stay during September achieved 2.99 nights where it remains down, by 4 per cent for the year-to-date and occupancy levels for the first nine months recorded a dip of 7 per cent to 63 per cent. 

According to the TCA report, September has been the strongest, contributing to the year-to-date growth with 189,442 people checking into Abu Dhabi’s hotels last month — a 14 percent rise on the first nine months of last year.

Based on TRI Hospitality Consulting’s data for September, Abu Dhabi hotels achieved an occupancy level of 65.5 per cent, Hewett said, an improvement over the summer months. “However, the overall occupancy still remains lower than the performance achieved in the first quarter of the year when the hotels experienced an average occupancy of 73 per cent,” he said.

Overall revenue grew by 3 per cent to Dh3.15 billion ($85.8 million). Food and beverage returns accounted for Dh1.245 billion ($339 milllion) in the first nine months of 2012 — an 11 per cent growth on the same period in 2011.

“As the high season approaches, we expect to see an improvement in occupancy levels as demand increases, especially during the Formula 1 weekend. However, we anticipate average rates will remain under pressure,” he added.

Key markets

During the first nine months of this year, growth has been recorded in all of Abu Dhabi’s key markets with the strongest coming from Asia, the GCC and Europe. The UK remains the destination’s prime source market and India continues its stellar performance for the destination.

“We are well placed to achieve our yearly target of 2.3 million hotel guests, particularly as we have a busy Q4 ahead with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Art, the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and the opening of the Yas Waterworld still to look forward to,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi. 

“We have our sights firmly focused on the Indian market and hope to have on-the-ground representation in place very soon to nurture further trade and media relations,” said Al Muhairi. “We have significant air accessibility from India to Abu Dhabi which will be further enhanced next month when Etihad Airways begins daily flights from Ahmedabad — its ninth destination within the sub-continent.” 

The key growth markets of China and Russia are also showing increased returns. China produced 78 per cent more hotel guests in Q1-Q3 this year than last year while Russia achieved a 44 per cent hotel guest growth during the comparative period with Russians counting amongst the longest-staying guests, achieving an average-length-of-stay of 5.39 nights.