Abu Dhabi has recorded its most successful year ever in terms of hotel guest arrivals with some 2,111,611 people staying in the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments – beating its 2011 stretch target of 2 million by 6.5% or over 100,000 guests.

December 2011 delivered a bumper month for Abu Dhabi with some 207,723 guests checking into the emirate’s hotels – a 26% rise on December 2010 and the highest achieving month of the year.

“We attribute the strong December performance to people taking their seasonal festivity breaks in the emirate and staying for the lead-up to the New Year’s celebrations,” said HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA.

Europe’s growth rate was primarily influenced by the UK, which remains Abu Dhabi’s biggest international source market accounting for 139,319 – an increase of 18%. “These results should be seen as highly encouraging when viewed against a background of world economic uncertainties which are impacting many destinations,” said Al Muhairi.

Annual growth was recorded across a number of key metrics including: guest nights, which were up 22% to 6.3 million; occupancy levels, which rose 7% to 69%; revenue, which rose 3% to AED 4.375 billion (US $ 1.2 billion) and length of stay which expanded 5% to 2.97 nights. Room revenue increased by 2% to AED2.3 billion (US $ 631 million), though the average room rate slipped by 14% to AED 490 (US $133), while food and beverage revenue increased by 6% to AED1.605 billion (US $434.721 million).

“This is a highly encouraging result in a year which has seen substantial additions to our hotel and resort inventory, including several five-star beach properties which have opened up Saadiyat Island to guests,” said HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). “There is a clear correlation between this increase, our opening of offices in Russia and the USA, our heightened focus on the Asian markets, a vibrant calendar of world-class events, increased air access with the arrival into Abu Dhabi of new carriers and the expansion of Etihad Airways’ network and a substantial increase in cross-network marketing undertaken by the arrival of major new hospitality brands.

“It leaves us well placed to build for 2012 for which we initially had a target of 2.3 million but, in conjunction with stakeholders, will now reassess to see if this too, can be stretched.”

“We begin 2012 buoyed by Abu Dhabi being named ‘Golf Destination Of The Year Middle East and Africa’ by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators which we hope to further leverage through our newly-launched Golf In Abu Dhabi product. In addition, we have a string of major events lined up Gourmet Abu Dhabi in February and the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in March. February is also promising to be a stellar month with over 10,000 participants due in town for the World Ophthalmology Congress, the largest convention to be held in the UAE capital to date.

“We are also now working ever more closely with stakeholders to spur creative packaging of our products, including our events and to realise the potential held out by the UNESCO Heritage site listing of attractions in Al Ain,” says Al Muhairi.

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