The emirate of Abu Dhabi welcomed over 3.5 million hotel guests during the first nine months of the year, a an increase of 7 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) – Abu Dhabi.
The numbers remain on track to exceed 2016’s total of 4.4 million guests, a statement said.
Looking specifically at September, hotel guests to all three regions of Abu Dhabi increased by 5 per cent year-on-year with 415,985 domestic and international visitors checking in to one of the emirate’s 163 hotels or hotel apartments.
During the month, guest numbers rose 14 per cent in the Al Dhafra region, 8 per cent in the Al Ain region and 4 per cent in Abu Dhabi city with a total occupancy rate of 69 per cent. Guest nights also increased by 15 per cent, 6 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.
While the number of domestic tourists dropped slightly, the emirate recorded a surge in Chinese hotel guests, with their numbers up 133 per cent compared to September 2016 to reach over 28,000.
The rise can be attributed to “extensive marketing across China carried out by the Department and the granting of visas on arrival from the start of the year to Chinese nationals,” DCT – Abu Dhabi said.
India remained the largest international source market with more than 33,000 hotel guests during the month, while the UK was third behind China showing a 5 per cent rise.
Saif Saeed Ghobash, director general, DCT – Abu Dhabi, said: “Globally, we have invested heavily in marketing Abu Dhabi as a destination of distinction, the perfect place to visit and explore, with an emphasis on an emirate steeped in history, culture and heritage.
“China is showing outstanding growth for us and we have a long-term target of bringing 600,000 Chinese hotel guests a year to the emirate by 2021.
“To drive that kind of successful growth we recently ran our first ‘Abu Dhabi Week in China’ initiative to encourage even more businesses, partners and stakeholders to work with us in promoting the emirate. This promotional and marketing event, held in conjunction with our overseas offices, has also been rolled-out to India in October and November, with activity in Mumbai and Delhi to help drive inbound tourism.”
Looking ahead, the emirate is forecasting a continued rise in visitor numbers, thanks to opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island on November 11, and other events such as the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Art, Abu Dhabi Food Festival, Al Dhafra Festival, the recently announced Dar Al Zain Festival in Al Ain, NYE Countdown Village in Abu Dhabi, and the ongoing Abu Dhabi Classics international concert series.
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The new 2017/18 cruise season, which launched towards the end of October, is also expected to have a positive impact on visitor and hotel guest arrivals into the emirate during the last quarter of the year with passenger numbers anticipated to rise 5 per cent from last season’s total of 346,000 passengers.