The high influx of winter travellers is keeping Abu Dhabi’s hospitality and leisure industry upbeat, with hotel occupancies soaring in the peak season.
New figures released on Monday showed that the more than 100 hotels in the UAE capital had the busiest February this year in nearly a decade.
The average hotel occupancy rate reached 81 per cent in February, up by 5.1 per cent from a year earlier and the highest for the month in nine years. “The absolute occupancy level would be the highest for a February in Abu Dhabi since 2009,” STR said.
Abu Dhabi has seen a surge in travellers from various source markets in recent months, with January alone recording nearly half a million guests checking into the emirate’s 162 hotels and hotel apartments, up more than 30,000 over the previous year.
According to figures shared by the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi, there has been a huge influx of travellers from Asian countries, especially India and China.
Last January, more than 34,000 Indian nationals stayed in Abu Dhabi hotels, up by 31.5 per cent from a year earlier, while Chinese guests accounted for 35,000, up by 61 per cent – making China the largest international source market.
“We are building on last year’s success and have seen an impressive start to this year recording more than seven per cent year-on-year growth,” said Saif Saeed Ghobash, director General of DCT Abu Dhabi.
“Our tier one markets, China, India, UK, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the United States are performing particularly well with all of them recording more than 10 per cent growth in January.”
As of February, demand for hotels in Abu Dhabi registered a 5.1 per cent increase over the same period last year. However, the cost of overnight hotel stays is still low at Dh431.34, down by 23.3 per cent from a year ago, while the revenue per available room (RevPAR) fell by 19.4 per cent to Dh349.20.
However, the decline is due to “difficult-to-match comparisons from 2017,” according to STR. This year, Abu Dhabi did not host the Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex), which is a huge draw for visitors and happens only once every two years.
“The decline in ADR came as a result of an off year for the biennial [Idex], which will be held once again in 2019.”