By Andy Sambidge
Tourism chiefs hail best ever first quarter in terms of guest numbers, guest nights and revenue
Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartments have had their best first quarter of the year ever in terms of guest numbers, guest nights and revenue, tourism officials have announced.
Figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) show that in the first three months of this year 834,771 guests checked into the emirate's accommodation, a climb of 32 percent on Q1 2013.
Guest nights delivered during Q1 rose 22 percent year-on-year to almost 2.6 million with occupancy averaging 79 percent, which was up by eight percent.
Total hotel revenues increased by 11 percent to AED1.585 billion ($389.9 million) with food and beverage income also rising 11 percent to AED595.4 million.
"This all makes for excellent reading particularly when judged against the fact that the emirate's accommodation inventory has grown significantly over the past year with a 10 percent increase inroom availability," said Jasem Al Darmaki, deputy director general, TCA Abu Dhabi.
"Q1 is characterised as a particularly busy period for major events in Abu Dhabi both from the leisure and business perspective while increasing air access is bringing new markets within our reach," he added.
An additional 11 hotels have opened in AbuDhabi since Q1 2013 and the emirate's room stock now stands at 26,811 compared to 24,416 this time last year. Increased competition within the market place has held back the average room rate which now stands at AED455.
"We are focussing heavily on promoting the emirate's expanding tourism portfolio in a bid to increase the average length of stay, which is now just over three nights. We are also emphasising to both the trade and consumers the affordability of the destination and the value-for-money it represents," said Al Darmaki
India was the emirate's largest international source market accounting for 50,291 guests during Q1 - a 39 percent year-on-year improvement.
Al Darmaki added: "We envisage greater throughput from India with the opening of Etihad Airways' services from Jaipur to Abu Dhabi International and the additional exposure the emirate has gained within India by the staging of some of the IPL's seventh season matches in Abu Dhabi."
The UK came in as the emirate's second largest overseas market with a 25 percent rise in British guests to 49,720
Germany was the destination's third largest international source market with a 16 percent uplift in check ins to 36,921 guests.
Business from China made huge strides with arrivals surging 208 percent to 32,259 making it the UAE capital's fourth largest overseas source market.
"We are conscious of the potential of the Chinese market, as are our stakeholders who are increasingly tailoring product for this segment. Our task now is to build both the number of arrivals from the People's Republic and convince their travellers to stay longer," said Al Darmaki.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.