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Hotels in Abu Dhabi are benefitting immensely from the transformation of the capital from a mere business destination for corporates to a popular leisure and entertainment hub. According to statistics revealed by Abu Dhabi's Destination Visitor Survey, business travelers accounted for just 12 per cent of the total number of visitors in 2013. Two years back in 2011, they held the lion's share contributing to 60 per cent of the total number of visitors.
Newer cultural hotspots on Saadiyat Island and popular amusement attractions such as the Ferrari World on Yas Island have helped in the turnaround, attracting more leisure visitors. Abu Dhabi is also the venue for big sporting events including the Formula One, HSBC Golf Championship, and Volvo Ocean Race which attract many sports enthusiasts.
The year 2013 was good for the hospitality industry in the capital as hotels enjoyed their best year in terms of guest arrivals, guest nights, length of stay, and revenue. Figures released by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority show that last year, around 2.8 million guests checked into the emirate's 150 hotels and hotel apartments, a rise of 18 per cent in 2012, and beating TCA's annual target of 2.5 million. Riding high on these figures, the authority said it has revised its 2014 target upwards to 3.1 million visitors.
Detailed statistics on tourist arrivals reveal that guests began to stay longer in the emirate with the average length of stay edging up 7 per cent to 3.13 nights and with occupancy rising 9 per cent to 71 per cent. Although, average rate slipped by 1 per cent to Dh447.60, room revenue rose 21 per cent.
Thirteen new hotels and hotel apartments opened in Abu Dhabi in 2013 ensuring 2,000 new hotels rooms were added to the supply. According to industry experts, the total number of hotel rooms is expected to jump to 25,750 by 2016 from the existing figure of 18,500.
• Business travelers comprised 12% of Abu Dhabi visitors in 2013
• Around 2.8 million guests checked into hotels and hotel apartments
• Thirteen new hotels and hotel apartments opened in AUH in 2013
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties, gulfnews.com
The writer is a freelancer