Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments have had their best ever year in terms of guest arrivals, guest nights and revenues, comfortably beating the sectors 2014 targets.
Figures just released by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) show that guest arrivals in 2014 totaled 3,494,063 a year-on-year rise of 25% – with guest nights climbing 19% over a 2013 comparison to reach 10,463,137, prompting the Authority to consider new targets from current projections for 2015 and beyond.
The industry has performed extremely well, surpassing our 3.1 million guest target and with significant growth being recorded in occupancy and revenues, said His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, TCA Abu Dhabi.
The exceptional 2014 performance reflects the heightened awareness of our world-class tourism offering, and there are encouraging signs for further growth as we add more diverse products, drive more effective stakeholder coordination and expand our local, regional and global marketing initiatives, he added.
Total hotel revenues rose 14% to AED 6.28 billion (US $1,712 billion) with room revenue accounting for AED 3.26 billion (US $889 million), which was up 15% on 2013 while food & beverage income climbed 11% to AED 2.33 billion (US $637 million).
Despite these encouraging results there remains room for improvement, notably a dip in length of guest stay and a slight slip in average room rate, which we are actively addressing with the industry, said HE Jasem Al Darmaki, Acting Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi.
Hotel occupancy for the year came in at 75%, which is up 6% on the comparative period.
This is excellent news when viewed against the background of a 7% rise in available hotel rooms year-on-year, added Al Darmaki. Abu Dhabi now has 160 hotels and hotel apartments as compared to 150 last year and currently boasts 28,374 rooms as opposed to 26,001 for the comparative period.
The emirate’s current average-length-of-stay fell 4% from 3.13 to 2.99 nights and the prevailing average room rate is AED 442 (US $120).
Domestic tourism continues to perform well for Abu Dhabi, with hotel guest numbers from within the UAE exceeding a million for the first time, accounting for almost a third of all arrivals – an increaase of 20% on 2013.
India remains Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market for hotel guests, posting a 32% increase and eclipsing its stellar 2013 performance figures to reach 231,702 guests, delivering 850,443 guest nights – which was up 23%.
Europe’s primary source markets also posted significant double-digit growth in guest arrivals, with equivalent guest night performance growth tempered by across-the-board slips in average length of stay.
Once again, the UK was the second largest overseas producer with 203,788 Britons checking into the emirate’s hotels last year – a 25% lift on 2013. British arrivals accounted for 877,162 guest nights – 15% more than 2013 with an averrage length of stay of 4.3 nights, down 8% from the 4.68 night peak of the previous year.
Germany held its position as the third largest overseas source market with 138,604 hotel guests – a 16% uplift on 2013. Germans delivered 631,179 gguest nights, which was up 8% on the previous year.
The United States surged from seventh to fourth most productive market on the back of a 37% increase, delivering 123,196 hotel guests, with one of the longest staying averages at 4.94 nights, narrowly missing out to Russia which posted a table-topping average length of stay of 5.3 nights.
Regionally, arrivals from the GCC rose by 25%, with Saudi Arabia Abu Dhabi’s top performer. Arrivals from the Kingdom rose 32% year-on-year. Internationally, China delivered the highest percentage growth –“ of 166% in arrivals and 145% in guest nights, elevating it to the emirate’s fifth most productive overseas market.
Within the emirate, the 10 three-, four- and five-star hotels of the Western Region (Al Gharbia) were bolstered by an increase in average length of stay, bucking the trend and posting a 10% increase to 3.43 nights, generating a 22% increase in guest nights, testament to the mounting appeal of the region’s luxury desert meets the sea proposition.
Guest arrivals to the emirate’s heritage heartland city of Al Ain also posted an 11% increase.
Indications are that 2015 will provide a more challenging operating environment, but we are committed to drive the sector to work together to excel, added Al Darmaki.
Our expanding international tourist footprint will provide further opportunity to identify areas for growth, and the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi later this year will be seen as a significant milestone in setting Abu Dhabi’s position at the heart of the global cultural tourism agenda.