By Andy Sambidge
UAE capital sees record number of tourists last month; closes in on 2m target for 2011
Abu Dhabi saw record numbers of tourists last month and is now within sight of its target of attracting two million guests in 2011, tourism chiefs said on Wednesday.
The UAE capital welcomed 182,553 guest arrivals in October - a 21 percent increase on October 2010.
Guest nights also rose 17 percent to 582,929 and occupancy was up seven percent.
October performance means that in the first 10 months of this year, Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartments received 1,697,140 guests which is 15 percent higher than the same period last year.
Lawrence Franklin, strategy and policy director, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), said: "The signs are good for achieving our 2011 stretch target with expected good figures for November resulting from the staging of the third Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and with an end-of-year influx anticipated as guests arrive for the New Year's hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet."
October also recorded a two percent increase in overall revenue to AED410m ($111.7m) when compared to October 2010, which was primarily driven by a strong performance in food and beverage revenue.
Overall increases in revenue were tempered by decreases in average room rates and RevPAR which fell 11 percent to AED489.06 ($133) and five percent to AED377.02 ($102.70) respectively.
Year-to-date, occupancy levels are up 9 percent to 68 percent, revenue has risen 5 percent to AED3.4bn ($941m) and average length of stay has increased by 8 percent to 2.99 nights.
During October, the GCC continued to be a high performing region for Abu Dhabi with guest arrivals from the Gulf climbing 59 percent.
Within Europe, the UK and Germany continued their upward trend with 13,065 Britons staying in Abu Dhabi hotels during last month - a rise of 13 percent on October 2010 and 6,670 German guests staying - which is up 38 percent.
India weighed in as the destination's second largest overseas market with 10,196 hotel guests staying - an increase of 37 percent on October 2010.
"We are also anticipating increased business over the coming months emerging also from our recently-launched Golf In Abu Dhabi initiative which has already created significant interest from international golf tour operators," added Franklin.