Sheraton Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi achieved a 10% rise in hotel guests in the first quarter of this year compared to last with increases also recorded for guest nights, occupancy levels, revenue and length of stay.

“It’s been a sterling first quarter performance much of which can be attributed to the dynamic program of events, both business and leisure, which have taken place in the emirate over the past three months. These, combined with the pull of the Yas Island Weekends which are serving up an enticing mix of entertainment, hotels deals, golf and visits to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, have kept the momentum going with the impact evident in the 13% rise in average length of stay to just over 3 nights. We have also benefited from our reputation as a safe and stable destination during the period of uncertainty being experienced by some Arab nations,” said Lawrence Franklin, Director Strategy & Policy, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).

According to the latest ADTA figures, some 510,114 guests stayed in Abu Dhabi’s hotels in the first three months of this year producing 1.56 million guest nights – up by a quarter on 2010. March alone achieved a 9% rise in hotel guests with some 180,931 people checking into the emirate’s hotels.

While the Q1 mainstay was the domestic market, the UK came in as the top overseas producer with some 37,710 guests during the quarter – a 20% rise on 2010. India rose to be  the second largest overseas producer with its 23,614 Q1 turnout being up 28% on the same time last year. The US was in third place with 23,190 guests – a 6% rise in the year.

Regionally Saudi Arabia proved to be the top GCC source market with some 13,119 guests – up 44% on 2010 producing 29,327 guest nights – a rise of 69% on last year and leaving the Kingdom in 6th place on the international market rankings.

Abu Dhabi’s occupancy rate for the quarter was a healthy 72% – up 10% on 2010 with room revenue climbing 6% to AED679 million. Food & beverage revenue rose 12% to AED433 million.

Q1’s 15% drop in average room rate is largely  attributed to increased competition in the Abu Dhabi market which now boasts 18,800 hotel rooms with a further 4,000 due on line by the end of the year.

“Overall the prognosis is good,” said Franklin. “We have set our sights on 2 million hotel guests this year and if the Q1 performance can be sustained throughout the remainder of 2011, we will certainly achieve our target.”