Tourists at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi
Tourists at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The emirate’s key attractions have had a successful year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s hotels have posted a year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2019, with hotel guest numbers reaching a record 1.2 million for the April to June period representing a 6.8 per cent increase from the same period in 2018.

The latest report from the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) also shows that total hotel revenues for the second quarter were up to Dh1.2 billion, a rise of 3.7 per cent from the previous year.

Year-to-Date metrics for 2019 also showed strong improvement, with hotel guest numbers reaching 2.5 million, a rise of 3.5 per cent from 2018, and hotel revenues of Dh2.9 billion, a 10.6 per cent rise. For 2019 so far, the statistics also show double digit growth in other key indicators, including an increase in room revenues of 17.6 per cent; revenue per available room (RevPAR) rising by 10.7 per cent; and average room rate (ARR) rising by 10.2 per cent.


Rise in revenue per available room during the period

The figures also show that the emirate’s key attractions have had a successful year, attracting the highest number of sightseers and thrill-seekers than ever before. Visits to key attractions were up 50 per cent in the second quarter of 2019, primarily due to a 62 per cent increase in visitors to theme and leisure parks, in addition to a 21.5 per cent growth at cultural and historical sites and a 22 per cent increase at museums.

“These impressive results, both in the second quarter and the year as a whole, are a result of the hard work and dedication of every stakeholder, entity and trade partner involved in Abu Dhabi’s tourism value chain,” said Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi.

“These results for the year have been underpinned by some truly exceptional results in June. For example, our guest numbers in June were up 24.6 per cent compared to the same month last year, while our RevPAR was also up 23.8 per cent,” he added.

“Aside from our promotional campaigns that highlight what makes Abu Dhabi such a unique and extraordinary destination, we can also point to the events and deals we have implemented for the summer months, the exciting programme of citywide activities over the Eid Al Fitr holidays, and the stopover promotions we are offering alongside our airline partners, as factors that have contributed to a record-breaking year so far in terms of hotel guest numbers,” Ghobash said.

In the second quarter of 2019, there was an increase in hotel guests from several key international markets, with guest numbers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia up 23.6 per cent, India rising by 15.8 per cent, and other key markets such as the UK and USA also showing growth.

Underpinning the increases was the strong growth in various regions of Abu Dhabi, with the statistics showing hotels in Al Dhafra Region performing well in the second quarter, seeing a 10.3 per cent increase in guest numbers, an 18.7 per cent increase in RevPAR, and a 12.3 per cent increase in ARR. Additionally guest numbers in the 2nd Quarter in Al Ain were up 9.9 per cent, and 6.4 per cent in Abu Dhabi.

Of the various districts of Abu Dhabi, hotels in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) area were among the best performers, recording 73 per cent Occupancy in the 2nd Quarter of this year, a rise of 11.9 per cent from last 2018, while guest numbers were up 10.2 per cent. These were boosted by an increase in the number of key international visitors, such as a 31 per cent increase from China, a 29.8 per cent increase from India, and a 20.1 per cent increase from Saudi Arabia. In ADNEC’s hotels in the YTD, Occupancy reached 81 per cent, up 11.3 per cent, guest numbers rose 15.9 per cent, and Revenues were up even further by 26 per cent.

Saadiyat Island’s hotels have also performed well this year. Guest numbers rose by an astounding 83.5 per cent, occupancy rates were up 26.1 per cent, Revenues by 73.4 per cent and RevPAR by 30.9 per cent in the 2nd Quarter. In the YTD, guest numbers were up by 105 per cent and revenues by 71.3 per cent. During this time, visitors from Russia were up 242.8 per cent, the UK by 144.5 per cent and Kazakhstan an astounding 1,595 per cent.

Ghobash said that Abu Dhabi was looking to have strong visitor numbers throughout the year.

“While summer is traditionally a quieter time in the region’s tourism industry, we are hopeful we can continue to increase our visitor figures this year with promotions like RAD Summer Season’s amazing discounts in malls, and Tastes of the Capital, which offers brilliant deals at restaurants in Abu Dhabi.

“We are also gearing up for an activity-packed second half of the year, so we are confident that standout events like the UFC 242 mixed martial arts championship and the accompanying Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, the return of the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and other world-class leisure, cultural and business events will continue to drive the growth of our tourism footprint,” he added.