Abu Dhabi has announced a 4.9 per cent increase in hotel guests during the first five months of 2018.
The year-on-year growth across the emirate’s 162 hotels, resorts and apartments meant it welcomed a total of 2.073 million people during the period.
Occupancy rose 1.4 per cent to average 75 per cent and average length of stay rose 2.4 per cent to 2.7 nights.
Abu Dhabi’s Departure of Culture and Tourism (DCT) said China accounted for the most visitors, up 19.9 per cent to 192,500, followed by India, up 22.2 per cent to 166,700, and the UK, up 12.7 per cent to 119,900.
In late 2016, the UAE granted Chinese passport holders visa on arrival entry.
Visitors from the United State increased 25.7 percent to 82,300 and from Germany 20 per cent to 71,300, while domestic tourism rose 7.9 per cent to 1.489 million guests.
By region, visitor numbers were up 8.6 per cent in Al Dhafra to 63,471, 5.3 per cent in Abu Dhabito 1.833 million and 1 per cent in Al Ain to 176,767.
“These results are very encouraging, and demonstrate steady growth. They also prove Abu Dhabi’s ability to realise its strategic goals of positioning the emirate as a leading global destination, through forward-looking marketing and promotional campaigns that seek to sustain growth,” said DCT undersecretary Saif Saeed Ghobash.
“We expect to see significant momentum across the tourism sector in the forthcoming months with Abu Dhabi Summer season having begun in June, the opening of new leisure establishments and resorts such as Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island from July 25, and Jumeirah’s luxurious Saadiyat Island Resort in November.”
Visitor numbers are expected to be boosted further in the second half of the year following the announcement of recent stimulus measures including a more relaxed transit visa policy at UAE airports and cuts to tourism and municipality fees at Abu Dhabi hotels from July 1.
Ghobash said he expected the changes to encourage investment in the tourism sector and improve its competitiveness.
“It will also help us attract more visitors and increase occupancy rates, revenues and the average length of stay, and thus increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP and reach economic diversification targets,” he added.