Christopher Hewett, senior consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting, attributed the increased guests to TCA’s active promotion of Abu Dhabi as a destination.
“Abu Dhabi is increasing this type of awareness, and it’s increasing its global position in the tourism industry. People are seeing the benefit of stopping here especially if they are incorporating a couple of nights in Abu Dhabi as part of a stopover or they’re travelling to Abu Dhabi as their end destination,” he told Gulf News.
Hewett added that the figures make the emirate well on course to achieve its target of having 3.1 million guests in its accommodation by the end of this year.
“If they maintain this trend and these numbers, you’re looking at having well over that, so around 3.3 million [guests] by the end of this year. The opening of Yas Mall on November 19 is a key milestone for Abu Dhabi, and will help it cement itself as a player in the large retail market. As we know from Dubai, large destination malls are a key driver of demand,” he said.
Domestic tourism continued to perform well with arrivals from the UAE rising 23 per cent to 845,316. The arrivals also delivered 21 per cent more guest nights year-on-year.
India remained the emirate’s largest overseas market with 162,394 Indians checking into Abu Dhabi’s accommodation which was up by a third on the first nine months of last year.
One of the fastest-growing markets for Abu Dhabi is China. Guest arrivals from the country jumped 167 per cent in the first nine months to 81,525. The Chinese guests accounted for 141,044 guest nights — a 150 per cent increase.
Jasem Al Darmaki, acting director general at TCA Abu Dhabi, commented on overall performance, saying, “This is a very encouraging performance particularly when viewed in the context of there being eight more hotels than this time last year and over 2,000 more rooms.”
He added that the length of stay has dropped four per cent, and that TCA is working to improve that issue through various means including promoting Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain, and the Western Region more heavily.