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Mon 27 Dec 2010 12:26 PM

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Abu Dhabi sees 27% surge in hotel guests in November

Agents say events and Etihad promotions behind swell, emirate on track to rival Dubai as tourism capital

Abu Dhabi sees 27% surge in hotel guests in November
Events such as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have helped put Abu Dhabi on the map as a tourism destination

Heralding
its arrival as a tourism competitor for Dubai, Abu Dhabi saw a leap of 27
percent in hotel guests in November compared to the same month in 2009, with guest
nights surging 42 percent to mark the emirate’s second highest performing month
of the year.

The
surge brought the emirate to 1,646,799 guests total for the first 11 months of
the year, close to its goal of 1.65mn for all of 2010.

The
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority reported that 169,001 guests stayed in the emirate
last month, with guest nights at 544,753.

Occupancy
levels were also up 18 percent, to 77 percent, and the average length of stay
climbed to 3.2 nights per person from 2.9, largely off the back of events like
the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Yas Island’s popular concert nights, which attract thousands
with expat-friendly acts like the Jonas Brothers and Guns n’ Roses, as well as
Etihad’s expansion.

Monthly
revenue was up 24 percent to $139.4m – the first growth recorded in 11 months.

“Abu
Dhabi is trying to encourage more tourism by holding events like the Grand Prix
and getting bands in as well at Yas Island – it’s an expat hangout, and it
definitely plays a part in it,” Mark Reed, general manager at Arabian Travel
and Tourism, told Arabian Business. “Then even people from Dubai will stay the
night – people choose not to do the drive there and back.

“There
is no doubt that the staging of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand
Prix had a strong positive influence on November’s hotel statistics,” Lawrence
Franklin, strategy and policy director for the ADTA, said in a statement. “The
impact of the Grand Prix, the recently opened Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and the
Yas Island show weekends mean it is now certain that we will surpass our annual
target.”

Reed
said the UAE’s capital is showing signs of surpassing its glitzier neighbour.

“In
time, Abu Dhabi might take over. It’s catching up, that’s for sure. It’s doing
things in a more controlled manner.”

Dubai has also reported a rise in tourism figures. The number of hotel guests in the emirate reached almost six million in the first nine months of the year, a rise of six percent on the year-earlier period, said Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Following
a path set by Emirates Airline, Etihad's emergence as a global
player and its ongoing expansion of flight services plays a part in Abu Dhabi’s
tourism growth.

“With
Etihad opening more doors and flying to more destinations, more people are
encouraged to stop over there,” Reed said.

Still,
Abu Dhabi “is somewhere you’d only come for a couple of days. I think it will
continue to grow. It’ll be more fragile – because they’ve always had a problem
with hotel availability – but obviously they’re building more hotels. When
there’s an event on down there, it’s still a problem to get a place to stay
near the event. I think that will change,” he said.

Better
hotel pricing in Abu Dhabi could also see it outpace Dubai.

“I
was looking at one of the holiday periods and Abu Dhabi was really cheap to
stay and Dubai was quite extortionate,” Reed said.

National
carrier Etihad plays a key role in promoting the emirate’s growing tourism sector,
said Shibly Jowhershah, the head of leisure and marketing at Al Naboodah.

“They
have these promotions – Emirates does the same thing – where they attract
people to do a layover. It could be that travel has increased, or that Etihad has
increased its route network,” she said.

 

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P. MADHUSUDAN 9 years ago

CONGRATS TO ALL THOSE RESPONSIBLE IN ACHIEVING THIS REMARKABLE GROWTH FIGURE. AND THIS INSPITE OF THE FACT THAT ABU DHABI DOES NOT HAVE ANY MONUMENTS OR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS. tHIS ALSO SHOWS THE FAR SIGHTEDNESS OF THE RULERS OF THIS WONDERFUL STATE WHICH HAS HAD ITS PRIORITIES WELL CONCIEVED.
THE PROMOTION OF UP MARKET CONVENTIONS AND EXHIBITIONS IS ALSO ANOTHER FEATHER IN THE CAP OF ABU DHABI.

GOOD THINKING. KEEP IT UP!