By Andy Sambidge
Tourism chiefs say number of guests rise by 12% during the first six months of 2013
Abu Dhabi tourism chiefs on Sunday reported a 12 percent rise in the number of guests staying in the UAE capital's hotels the first half of this year.
Figures just released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) also showed that guests in the emirate are staying longer and that there have been significant increases in hotel occupancies and revenues.
Year-to-date hotel revenues rose 16 percent to AED2.7bn ($734m) despite a slight fall-off of three percent in average room rate to $122.
During the first half of this year, 1,333,339 guests checked into Abu Dhabi accommodation delivering 4,226,604 guest nights - a rise of 25 percent on the same period in 2012.
On average the guest stayed 3.17 nights - which was up 12 percent on last year, which translateed into an occupancy rate of 71 percent, up eight percent on H1 2012.
"We heading in the right direction and this heightened performance, despite significant increases in resort and hotel inventory, justifies our increased efforts in trade engagement and international marketing and promotion and the expanded product operators and investors have put into the destination," said Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, TCA Abu Dhabi.
"We anticipate the momentum building in the second half of the year which covers key happenings such as the Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Art, the Al Ain Aerobatics Show, a number of headline concerts on Yas Island and major sporting events including the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the Wake Park World Champonship Finals," he added.
Abu Dhabi's strong performance was aided by a bumper June when guest arrivals rose 13 percent, guest nights increased 22 percent, revenues shot up by 13 percent, people stayed longer and occupancy increased by six percent to 65 percent.
"We seem to be going someway to breaking the cycle of major business dips in summer," said Al Muhairi.
While domestic tourism continued to be the destination's largest single catchment, India snatched the top slot as the emirate's largest overseas source market toppling the UK into second place.
"We are benefitting from increased destination awareness in India following the opening a year ago of a dedicated promotions office there and also of increased air access from the country following Etihad Airways' equity stake in Jet Airways and the move by the Indian carrier of its Middle East hub to Abu Dhabi," said Al Muhairi.