Abu Dhabi continues winning streak

Abu Dhabi continues winning streak

Abu Dhabi’s growing portfolio of tourism attractions has led to it beating its hotel guest target by 8 percent last year, according to new figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

Some 1.81 million visitors stayed in the emirate’s 114 hotels and hotel apartments, an 18 percent increase on 2009, following the addition of new world-class tourist attractions including Ferrari World. Guest nights rose to 5.13 million, a 19 percent rise year-on-year.

ADTA, voted “World’s Leading Tourist Board” at 2010 World Travel Awards, is crediting the improved performance to substantial expansion of the destination’s product base, which also encouraged a rise in the average length of stay to 2.83 nights.

(HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA, which was voted “World’s Leading Tourist Board” at 2010 World Travel Awards)

His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA, said: “The introduction of exciting leisure products, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, new golf courses, the Yas Island Show Weekends, the ongoing maturity of the emirate’s international events calendar and the launch of new MICE events, such as World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi, helped ensure a very successful final quarter and the destination’s best hotel guest performance yet.”

“Much is also due to the solid, highly active and more uniformed approach to marketing on behalf of our growing stakeholder base which is fully behind our vision of delivering an outstanding, globally recognised, sustainable tourism destination, while enriching the lives of the Abu Dhabi community and visitors alike.

“The authority itself stepped up its destination marketing in 2010 with increased media engagement, the roll out of our international advertising campaign, participation in 20 international trade fairs and the opening of a dedicated promotional office in down-town Beijing.

“Of course performance has also been aided by more attractive rate structures, which have increased competitiveness and the market has responded accordingly. By any measure, being able to achieve double-digit growth in what remains a challenging international scenario is a significant feat.”

(Crowds at the sell-out Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix)

Domestic tourism, once again, proved a considerable boon. UAE guests accounted for over 40 percent of the market generated - 752,777 hotel guests, up 16 percent on 2009, while there was also continued growth from the GCC with a 26 percent rise in guests from Saudi Arabia, 35 percent from Oman and 28 percent from Kuwait. 

On the international front, Abu Dhabi’s main growth markets were: the UK which delivered 117,836 guests, up 22 percent from 2009, the USA, which delivered 78,985, up 16 percent; France, which produced 36,980, up 6 percent year-on-year; Australia, up 18 percent to 25,833 and China, which entered Abu Dhabi’s Top 20 market rankings coming in at number 19 with 14,580 – a 29 percent rise on 2009.

“While our traditional source markets continue to perform well, emerging markets are increasingly making their presence felt,” added Al Muhairi.

Despite the hotel guest increase, revenue remained static at AED 4.2 billion (US $1.15 billion) with rates becoming more competitive in a market which saw occupancies fall 10 percent year-on-year.

Yas Kart Track has recently joined Abu Dhabi’s growing portfolio of tourist attractions

ADTA’s 2011 tourism agenda is currently aimed at delivering 1.9 million guests staying in around 22,000 hotel rooms and contributing 11.1 percent to the emirate’s overall non-oil GDP.

Al Muhairi says that given the stellar 2010 performance, there could be a case for revising 2011 targets upwards.

“This is certainly something we will be considering over the coming weeks, in close collaboration, as always, with our valued stakeholders. We should consider raising the bar as we aspire to greater things and look to inspire all players within the destination’s development.

“We have several highlights to look forward to, not least the end-of-year hosting of the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race when the city will be activated to welcome visitors to a New Year’s celebration like no other. We are also gearing up for the arrival, this October, of the luxury liner MSC Lirica which will home port in Abu Dhabi during its 19 Gulf sailings from the UAE capital,” he added.

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