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Riding on a boom in infrastructure projects and growth in the number of leisure tourists, the number of visitors to Abu Dhabi swelled to 3.49 million in 2014. This was 25 per cent more than the 2013 figures, prompting the tourism authority to peg the 2015 target to 3.5 million.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) predicts 8,000 new hotel keys will enter the market in 2018 but this will be absorbed, thanks to the impressive growth in the number of visitors. The capital city currently has 160 hotels and hotel apartments offering around 28,374 rooms.
There was an uptick in hotel revenues and hotel occupancy despite the rise in inventory. However, the average room rent and average length of guest stay have slightly come down.
The dip in the average room rent might work to its advantage as many visitors prefer to stay in the capital and prefer to drive down to Dubai where the room rates are significantly higher. The average daily room rate in the capital was pegged at Dh442 in 2014 while the average room rate in Dubai in January 2015 was Dh1,039.
Among the visitors from abroad that visit Abu Dhabi, Indians and Britons occupy the top two slots. The capital’s business tourism has received a major boost, thanks to its airport now being connected to major global cities. It is also steadily rising up the charts in becoming a popular MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) destination.
A number of big ticket sporting events including Formula One staged at the Yas Marina Circuit, several golf tournaments and the Volvo Ocean Race have also played a big role in shoring up the number of leisure tourists.
• The capital is steadily rising up as a popular MICE destination
• Abu Dhabi’s 2014 visitors increased by 25% more than in 2013
• Emirate has witnessed an uptick in hotel occupancy, revenues
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer