Chinese tourist arrival continue to boost Abu Dhabi’s position as a tourist hotspot as in the first three months of the year it rose 208 per cent.

Business from China has made huge strides with arrivals reached 32,259 making it fourth largest overseas source market.

Chinese arrivals in the quarter delivered 50,253 guest nights — more than doubled to 139 per cent on the first three months of last year. Chinese guests are staying on average just short of two nights.

Abu Dhabi’s 152 hotels and hotel apartments have had their best first-quarter ever in terms of guest numbers, guest nights and revenue.

Figures just released by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) show that in the first three months of this year 834,771 guests checked into the emirate’s accommodation, a climb of 32 per cent year on year.

Total hotel revenues increased by 11 per cent to Dh1.585 billion with food and beverage income rising 11 per cent to Dh595.4 million.

“This all makes for excellent reading particularly when judged against the fact that the emirate’s accommodation inventory has grown significantly over the past year with a 10 per cent increase in room availability,” said Jasem Al Darmaki, Deputy Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.

“The first-quarter is characterised as a particularly busy period for major events in Abu Dhabi both from the leisure and business perspective while increasing air access is bringing new markets within our reach.”

An additional 11 hotels have opened in Abu Dhabi in the past 12 months and the emirate’s room stock now stands at 26,811 compared to 24,416 this time last year. Increased competition within the market place has held back the average room rate which now stands at Dh455.

“We are focussing heavily on promoting the emirate’s expanding tourism portfolio in a bid to increase the average length of stay, which is now just over three nights. We are also emphasising to both the trade and consumers the affordability of the destination and the value-for-money it represents,” explained Al Darmaki.

Domestic tourism is performing well for the destination with 260,755 UAE nationals checking into Abu Dhabi, which is 29 per cent more than in Q1 last year.

India is the emirate’s largest international source market accounting for 50,291 guests during Q1 — a 39 per cent year-on-year improvement.

“We envisage greater throughput from India with the opening of Etihad Airways’ services from Jaipur to Abu Dhabi International and the additional exposure the emirate has gained within India by the staging of some of the IPL’s seventh season matches in Abu Dhabi.”

The UK came in as the emirate’s second largest overseas market with a 25 per cent rise in British guests to 49,720 who delivered a 14 per cent upturn in guest nights to 213,705 staying, on average, close to four and a half nights.

(c)2014 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Photo Credit: An edited shot of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Andrew Xu / Flickr