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Blockbuster October for hotels in Abu Dhabi

Movie buffs arriving in town for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the Eid Al Adha holiday helped to give the capital's hotels their best October yet.

Movie buffs arriving in town for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the Eid Al Adha holiday helped to give the capital's hotels their best October yet, figures released by the Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA) Abu Dhabi show.

The total number of guests arriving at Abu Dhabi's 136 hotels last month was 223,015, jumping 22 per cent from October last year. The number of nights guests stayed rose 16 per cent to a total of 675,542.

"October exceeded expectations," said Indrani Bit, the marketing communications manager at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi. "Eid went very well for us. We benefited from the local weekend market. We were sold out during Eid."

Domestic tourism accounted for 15 per cent of hotel guest arrivals during October. Visitors from the Arabian Gulf states increased 58 per cent, driven by tourists from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.

Airline and tourism executives arriving for the World Routes Conference at Adnec and visitors coming for the Yasalam festival in advance of the Formula One Grand Prix also helped to swell numbers.

"October benefited from an action-packed events series," noted Mubarak Al Muhairi, the director of TCA Abu Dhabi.

Total revenue rose 9 per cent to Dh450 million ($122.5m), with spending on food and drinks rising 11 per cent to Dh168m. Room revenue rose 7 per cent to Dh 234m.

Mr Al Muhairi predicted "a strong November result" and that the emirate would be likely to reach its target of 2.3 million tourists for the year.

The Hyatt's Mr Bit reinforced this prediction, saying: "November was a record. It started with the Formula One and then Russian and German holidays followed.

In between was the Adipec oil conference and we got the benefit from that."

Occupancy, however, slipped 7 per cent to 71 per cent and the average length of guest stay slipped 5 per cent to 3.03 nights.

The authority is working to build occupancy and length of stay, according to Mr Al Muhairi. He added he was confident that this could be achieved given the new activities and entertainment now available in the emirate and the likely popularity of the YasWaterworld theme park, due to open next month.

"October was a truly great, great month for us despite the new hotel openings," said Alexander Schneider, the manger of Emirates Palace. "We had some key events during that period and we hosted the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which was very special for us. During that week, the hotel was almost full. There were perhaps five or six rooms left at the hotel which has 396 rooms."

lgutcher@thenational.ae

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