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More people are coming to Abu Dhabi, but its larger room inventory makes the market look down

Sep 04, 2012 1:33 am

Skift Take

Abu Dhabi is looking at 2.3 million hotel guests this year, driven largely by an enthusiastic crowd from Russia an more visitors from Asia.

— Jason Clampet

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Abu Dhabi received 1.37 million hotel guests in the January-to-July period — an 11 percent increase over the corresponding seven-month period last year — bringing it closer to its target of 2.3 million for 2012.

However, with a 16 per cent jump in total hotel room inventory over the last six months, July hotel occupancy in the capital dropped 16 per cent to 55 per cent.

Elsewhere, revenue per available room, or RevPAR, was 22 per cent down on July 2011. In the first seven months of the year, overall RevPAR has shown a 16 per cent year-on-year fall. Abu Dhabi now boasts 128 hotels and hotel apartments accounting for 22,800 rooms. The figure is expected to exceed 24,000 by the end of the year.

While traditionally lower travel rates during the holy month of Ramadan saw Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments return a six per cent drop in year-on-year hotel guests for the month of July, the average length of stay — a key growth focus — rose to 2.84 days last month, an increase of six per cent on the corresponding month last year. In total, some 178,099 guests stayed at Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments in July, returning 504,982 guest nights, one per cent down on the comparative month last year. The number of room nights dipped four per cent falling to 359,465 from the 373,254 tallied last July. Seven-month figures for guest nights and room nights show year-on-year increases of seven per cent and six per cent, respectively.

Food and beverage revenues — a key source of accommodation sector income — remained constant at Dh98.1 million to ensure seven-month takings are 10 per cent up on last year, totalling Dh1 billion.

“We remain on track as we enter our traditional busy season. With a packed schedule of world-class events and a host of new leisure attractions due to open across the emirate, including the UAE’s largest water park, Yas Waterworld, we are confident momentum will rise and we’ll reach our 2.3 million hotel guest target,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, or TCA Abu Dhabi.

Asia displayed the strongest year-on-year hotel guest increase last month at 17 per cent, followed closely by Europe at 12 per cent and North America at 10 per cent. Asia’s contribution was primarily driven by growth from Russia, which rocketed 128 per cent. China was up 70 per cent and India climbed 24 per cent. July’s best-performing source markets were the UAE with 73,104 hotel guests, followed by India (10,753), the UK (8,195) and Saudi Arabia (7,235).

(c)2012 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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