By Andy Sambidge
Tourism chief targets further 10% rise in visitors to UAE capital this year.
Abu Dhabi achieved a 2 percent rise in hotel guest numbers last year, bucking international trends in a globally depressed tourism market, it was revealed on Sunday.
More than 1.5 million visitors stayed in hotels in the emirate in 2009 with stays in the final quarter growing by 16 percent year-on year, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) said in a statement.
“The year ended on a high with a very successful last quarter driven by major events and an Eid break with strong stay-at-home characteristics,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, ADTA.
He said UAE hotel guests grew by 43 percent year-on-year for the month of December alone.
Domestic tourism helped underpin Abu Dhabi’s performance accounting for 42 percent of hotel guests - a rise of 26 percent on the previous year.
“Strong growth in domestic demand made an important contribution to Abu Dhabi’s ability to weather the global tourism industry challenges brought on largely by the global financial crisis and the spread of H1N1,” he added.
“While the last 12 months have been challenging, as they have for all destinations, we believe growth is a very solid performance in the face of global decline.”
On the international front, Abu Dhabi’s main source markets for hotel guests were the UK (96,709), USA (67,804) and India (61,241).
“Further field markets such as Russia and China are gaining in significance while markets in South East Asia have shown strong recent growth benefiting from enhanced air access,” added Al Muhairi.
ADTA is now targeting 1.65 million hotel guests for 2010 – a 10 percent rise on last year.
"Recent accommodation additions to supply have created a more competitive and better-value environment for business travellers and a more fertile ground for the next big phase in expanding our leisure tourism offering,” he said.