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Monday, January 2, 2012

Abu Dhabi hotel guests increase 16% to 1.9 million in 11 months

Abu Dhabi hotel guests increase 16% to 1.9 million in 11 monthsHotel guests in Abu Dhabi increased 16 per cent in the first 11 months of the year to 1,903,888 guests, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) said in a statement. Guest nights also rose 23 per cent, jumping to 5,694,140 from the 4,640,893 figure hit last year.

Despite an eight per cent decrease in average length of stay - the mean figure dipped from 3.22 nights in November last year to 2.96 last month - and small dips in room, food and beverage and other revenue contributors, Abu Dhabi's hotels' and hotel apartments' year-to-date revenue of Dh3.96 billion ($1.09 billion) is still a four per cent increase on 2010 receipts.

At 2.99 nights, the year-to-date average length of stay is also up six per cent when compared to the corresponding 11-month period in 2010.

Last month, Abu Dhabi welcomed 206,748 hotel guests, a 22 per cent increase on the corresponding month last year and the first time in two years that a calendar month has broken the 200,000 mark.

The strong performance ensured Abu Dhabi entered December - a month when 40th National Day celebrations and the year-ending Volvo Ocean Race host port stop-over are expected to give accommodation providers a further boost - less than 97,000 guests away from achieving its stretch 2011 target of two million hotel guests.

"Without putting the horse before the cart, we are confident that we will surpass our stretch target for the year," said Lawrence Franklin, Strategy and Policy Director, ADTA.

"This represents a fantastic achievement for everyone involved with the emirate's tourism industry and is based upon the ongoing collaborative efforts and achievements of our stakeholders to ensure Abu Dhabi realises its potential.

"We have already had hotels and hotel apartments report strong business over what was an historic National Day weekend and the expected influx for the end-of-year Volvo Ocean Race fleet should ensure December seals fantastic, across-the-board performance levels for the year."

November's growth in the total number of guests and guest nights ensured an occupancy rate of 77 per cent - the same as November 2010 - even though the emirate's hospitality portfolio has been expanded with a range of new, luxury hotel property openings.

During November, the GCC continued its recent high performance with guest arrivals from the Gulf rising 47 per cent on 2010 numbers. Qatar accounted for the strongest growth with a 56 per cent year-to year jump, while Saudi Arabia rose 53 per cent, Oman went up 48 per cent and Kuwait climbed 44 per cent.

Elsewhere, ADTA's debut road-show to India in September underscored the potential for additional growth in the rapidly emerging market; the Sub-continent giant contributed a mammoth 10,982 hotel guests in November - a 48 per cent rise on the 7,409 Indians who flocked to the emirate in the comparative period last year.

"It is extremely positive to see the Authority's ongoing international promotional efforts having sustained impact, with markets such as India and Saudi Arabia - where we have held road-shows in the last few months - both performing beyond expectations," added Franklin.

The UK is still Abu Dhabi's top international source market; some 15,246 Britons filled the emirate's hotels last month, an 11 per cent rise on November 2010, while Germany remains the second-largest European source market - 7,630 German nationals guaranteeing a year-to-year rise of 19 per cent.

"We anticipate even bigger demand in Germany following the recent launch of Etihad's four weekly services from Dusseldorf to Abu Dhabi and Air Berlin's plans to operate four flights a week between Berlin and Abu Dhabi International Airport from January," added Franklin. "The Air Berlin service, which follows the move by Etihad Airways to increase its stakeholding in Europe's six largest carrier, now means passengers on 29 flights a week from four German cities can feed into the new Berlin-Abu Dhabi service."

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