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Abu Dhabi Notches Up Record Hotel Guest Numbers in First Nine Months of the Year

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has achieved record hotel guest numbers in the first nine months of this year with figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism ‘&’ Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) showing some 1,741,330 people stayed in the emirate’s 131 hotels and hotel apartments – a 15% increase on the same period last year.

Together the year-to-date hotel guest tally has translated into almost 5 million hotel guest nights – which is up 10% on the first nine months of 2011.

“This is an encouraging performance given that the same comparative period has seen a significant increase in hotel and resort inventory,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi. “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.” A strong September showing contributed to the year-to-date growth trend with 189,442 people checking into Abu Dhabi’s hotels last month – a 14% rise on the first nine months of last year. They accounted for 566,404 guest nights – an increase of 16% on the comparative period.

“Of particular significance is the upward move in average-length-of-stay. It has expanded by 2%, which is a slight shift – but nevertheless a move in the right direction. It seems that our messaging that there is now much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi is taking hold, albeit gradually,” added Al Muhairi.

Average-length-of-stay during September achieved 2.99 nights – although it remains down, by 4% for the year-to-date. While occupancy levels for the first nine months recorded a dip of 7% to 63%, overall revenue grew by 3% to AED3.15 billion (US $85.8 million). Food and beverage returns continue to play a significant revenue generation role, it has accounted for AED1.245 billion (US $339 milllion) in the first nine months of 2012 – an 11% growth on the same period in 2011.

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 the Europe. Domestic tourism continues its upward growth rising 11% to 669,890 hotel guests from Q1-Q3 end. The UK remains the destination’s prime source market accounting of 99,189 guests – a 1% growth on the first nine months of 2011.

India continues its stellar performance for the destination. Some 98,246 Indians stayed in the emirate’s accommodation during the first nine months – which is up 31% on 2011.

“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,” explained 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.” Germany has also produced strong returns – the 66,755 Germans who stayed in the emirate’s accommodation from January-September end represent a 46% increase on the first nine months of 2011.

Saudi Arabia is also proving to be a success story for the emirate. Some 54,025 Saudi Arabians stayed in Abu Dhabi’s hotels during the first nine months – up 17% on the same period last year.

The key growth markets of China and Russia are also showing increased returns. China produced 78% more hotel guests in Q1-Q3 this year than last year while Russia achieved a 44% 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.