Abu Dhabi tourism registers 17% growth in Q1 2012

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Photo - Faisal Saeed Dama

Abu Dhabi reported a rise of 17% in the number of guests in the emirate’s hotels during the first quarter of 2012. According to the Department of Tourism and Culture of Abu Dhabi, 594,918 people stayed in 130 hotels and apartment hotels in the emirate between January and March this year. It registered a rise of 10% increase in the number of guest nights, to 1.725 million compared to same period last year.

Visitor numbers from all nationalities of tourists grew, apart from the US, Canada and Mexico, the ADTC report noted. Compared to the Q1 2011, domestic tourism also performed well, with 212,597 guests spending 401,347 nights – an increase of 11% and 8% respectively.

Tourists from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries registered an increase of 57%, with Saudi Arabia emerging as the fourth largest source of tourists. Around 22,100 Saudis stayed overnight in Abu Dhabi during the first quarter, highlighting a growth of 69% compared to 2011. Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar also showed a strong growth in guest numbers in Abu Dhabi. The GCC states, except Bahrain, were among the emirate’s top 25 sources of tourists.

Tourists coming from Asia, mainly from China, increased 37%. Figures suggest 8,941 Chinese tourists visited Abu Dhabi during the first quarter, marking a growth of 86% compared to same period last year. The emirate hosted 16,302 overnight Chinese stays, a 61% increase compared to January-March 2011 period. The Department of Tourism said the visit of a large Chinese delegation to the emirate as the major reason for this growth.

Abu Dhabi also witnessed an increase in the number of European tourists – 17% – driven primarily by German tourists. Around 27,750 Germans visited the UAE capital and other cities, recording an increase of 46% in the number of tourists from the European heartland. However, the tourism authority noted that the UK remains the main source of tourists visiting Abu Dhabi despite the fact that the volume of tourists fell by 2% during the period to 37,095 people. India ranked second with 31,564 guests and an increase of 15%.

The ADTC report mentioned that the average number of guest nights in the emirate in the Q1 of 2012 fell 5% to 2.90. The Department of Tourism and Culture of Abu Dhabi said it seeks an increase in the number of visitors staying overnight in the emirate by holding large number of business, cultural and sports activities.

The findings noted that occupancy rate fell 6% compared to same period in 2011 due to oversupply of rooms in the emirate. The average price per hotel room was AED500 ($136), the report disclosed.

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