Abu Dhabi targets 3.1m tourists during 2014

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A general view of Abu Dhabi. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

A general view of Abu Dhabi. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Abu Dhabi's hotels enjoyed their best year yet in terms of guest arrivals, guest nights, length-of-stay and revenues during 2013, tourism chiefs have revealed.

Figures just released by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) show that last year, 2,806,283 guests checked into the emirate's 150 hotels and hotel apartments - a rise of 18 percent on 2012 and beating TCA's annual target of 2.5 million.

On the back of the full-year performance, the authority said it has revised its 2014 target upwards to 3.1 million visitors.

The 2013 guest intake delivered close to 8.8 million guest nights - a 26 percent uplift on 2012 - with total revenue climbing 18 percent to AED5.48 billion ($1.5 billion).

"This is a highly satisfying performance particularly as we have seen 13 more hotels and hotel apartments open throughout 2013 and now have 10 percent more hotel rooms, totalling just over 26,000, than we had at the end of 2012," said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman, TCA Abu Dhabi.

"Given the fact that we have now achieved the original hotel guest targets set for 2014, we have reviewed our goals and are uplifting our sights by 10 percent.

"We are now looking to achieve 3.1 million hotel guests this year with a 10 percent year-on-year compounded growth in the near term."

He said over 2013, guests began to stay longer in the emirate with the average-length-of-stay edging up 7 percent to 3.13 nights and with occupancy rising 9 percent to 71 percent.

Room revenue rose 21 percent to AED2.84 billion with food and beverage income climbing 17 percent to AED2.1 billion. Average room rate over the year slipped by 1 percent to AED447.60.

Domestic tourism remained a mainstay of the destination, accounting for just over a third of all arrivals, the authority said.

India became Abu Dhabi's largest overseas source market for hotel guests, attracting some 175,929 - a 27 percent rise on 2012. The UK was the second largest overseas producer, with 162,973 Britons checking into the emirate's hotels last year - a 16 percent lift on 2012.

"We are quietly optimistic about reaching our revised 2014 target with new initiatives coming to market, including one which will incentivise the private events sector to bring their products to Abu Dhabi," said Sheikh Sultan.

"Last year's excellent performance was achieved through greater stakeholder engagement and with the solid support of a growing and highly pro-active stakeholder base. We want to thank them for their efforts and believe that together, with a one-destination approach, we can continue our upward momentum."

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