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Over 2.2m guests check-in at Abu Dhabi hotels this year

Abu Dhabi: More than 2.2 million guests checked into Abu Dhabi’s 148 hotels and hotel apartments during the first 10 months of 2013, resulting in $1.17 billion (Dh4.3 billion) of revenues, the Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) Abu Dhabi said.

The number represents a 16 per cent growth compared to last year’s performance, and industry experts attribute that to Abu Dhabi’s increasing leisure offers. With new developments such as those on Yas Island, and Al Maryah Island, residents from across the world, and particularly India, are visiting the emirate more than ever.

“We’re increasing our offering as a destination, and we’ve been aggressively promoting our offering in our key markets. We’re focusing on the domestic, GCC, and western European markets,” said Mohammad Al Daheri, director of Strategy and Policy at TCA.

He added that TCA has recently been focusing on emerging markets such as India, China, and Russia.

In fact, the focus has been fruitful as there were over 140,000 guests from India this year, representing a 26 per cent growth in visitors from the country compared to last year.

Christopher Hewett, Senior consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting Middle East, an agency focusing on travel, cited India as the largest overseas market, followed by the UK and Germany.

October proved to be a monthly record with over 288,000 guest arrivals — a jump of 29 per cent on the same month last year, driving revenues to $157.5 million (Dh578.4 million).

This can be attributed to the Eid Al Adha break and a series of major events that month.

Additionally, room rates have gone up by 7 per cent, bringing the average room to $138 per night (Dh507).

Commenting on the outlook for next year, Hewett said, “We believe it will continue to grow especially with new developments on board. The Yas Mall, for example, is a great demand generator especially for GCC travellers who are interested in retail.”

Al Daheri anticipated a total of 2.5 million hotel guests by the end of this year, especially given the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the National Day. He also anticipated 2.8 million guests for 2014, and said TCA plans to promote its presence in Ahmedabad in India.

Al Daheri said Emiratis accounted for 39 per cent of hotel guests, which is a “strong domestic presence”.

This year has seen 12 more hotels, and an additional 2,187 rooms available in Abu Dhabi.