Abu Dhabi tourism booming with 750,000+ visitors: What’s the secret?

April 3, 2017 4:18 pm

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Alamy.

Tourism sector in UAE capital Abu Dhabi continues to outperform many other cities despite challenges the emirate is grappling with on the back of low oil prices and slowing growth in world’s major economies.

Good start to 2017

In the first two months of 2017, the UAE capital saw a 5.5 per cent rise in the number of hotel guests.

According to figures from Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), 749,650 hotel guests have checked into the emirate’s 170 hotels and hotel apartments in January and February – an increase of more than 40,000 guests over the corresponding period last year.

“The first two months of this year has seen our key overseas markets continue to perform well, and we remain committed to expanding our outstanding tourism and cultural assets,” said Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.

In January, guest arrivals were 8 per cent up with the top five visitor source markets being the UAE, India, UK, China and Saudi Arabia.

The emirate’s Al Dhafra Region (formerly known as the Western Region), and Al Ain Region (formerly known as the Eastern Region) continued to post significant length of stay.

On the other hand, February witnessed a 4 per cent rise in guest arrivals in comparison to the same month last year. There was also an increase of 3 per cent in hotel guest nights with China, India, UK and USA being the leading international source markets. Revenue per available room also rose by 9 per cent while the average room rate rose 10 per cent to AED 451.

Record-breaking year

Interestingly, 2016 was a record-breaking year for Abu Dhabi in terms of hotel guests while it was a was a year of civil wars, instability, economic turbulence, Donald Trump and Brexit for the world.

More than 4.4 million hotel guests were recorded in the emirate during the last year. The figure was an 8 per cent increase compared to that of 2015. The emirate’s hotels also saw strong 12,031,628 guest nights.

Promoting tourism

Ghobash said Abu Dhabi will continue to make efforts to facilitate further growth in tourism sector.

“With our year-round programme of events, we plan to gain further growth across the tourism sector and achieve our target of reaching 4.9 million hotel guests throughout the course of this year,” he added.

TCA Abu Dhabi says it was leading a number of delegations to international travel trade events throughout the year to bolster visitor and guest arrivals.

“Already this year the Authority has led a delegation of the emirate’s leading hotels, attractions, destination management companies and tour operators to ITB Berlin in Germany, with trips to China and Saudi Arabia also taking place imminently,” it said.

In April, the authority will also be leading a large portfolio of companies to the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai to harness more inbound tourism.

Growing events

Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, a division of TCA Abu Dhabi, has made significant strides in attracting business into the emirate by leading and supporting bids to host a number of key conferences, further boosting guest arrivals.

Later this year, the emirate will host World Skills – the world’s largest vocational skills competition – which is set to take place in October in Abu Dhabi with 7,000 young participants from 76 countries.

In December, up to 15,000 members of the global diabetes community will meet in the city to take part in the International Diabetes Federation 2017 Congress. More than 200 speakers and 230 national diabetes associations from 170 countries are expected to attend the event.

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“Hotels in Abu Dhabi still offer excellent value for money given the quality of services on offer in the regional hospitality sector. With ongoing emphasis on our tier-one markets, and the return of annual events such as Mother of the Nation festival, Abu Dhabi Summer Season, and Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we are confident that visitors will continue to choose Abu Dhabi to experience an extraordinary destination throughout the rest of the year,” Ghobash said.

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) handled more than 2.2 million passengers in January, representing a 2.6 per cent increase in airport traffic compared with the same month in 2016.

By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.



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