x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Abu Dhabi draws record number of visitors thanks to affordable room rates

Abu Dhabi attracted record visitor numbers from the Gulf last month as affordable room rates drew the holiday crowds.

Abu Dhabi attracted record visitor numbers from the Arabian Gulf last month as affordable room rates drew the holiday crowds.

School holidays and Eid Al Fitr were behind the reasons, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

For August, Saudi Arabia was Abu Dhabi’s largest source market for foreign visitors.

The increase in tourists from Saudi Arabia and GCC countries reflects population growth in this region and the rise of Abu Dhabi as a tourism destination, analysts say.

Travellers from Saudi Arabia are among the highest spenders in the UAE markets.

In the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah,which is also courting the Saudi market, a visitor from the kingdom spent an average of US$110 per room per night last year, compared with $98 per UAE guest, $78 per German guest and $68 per Russian guest.

Last month, St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort opened the UAE’s largest hotel suite, adding to its luxury portfolio. The suite, spread over 2,100 square metres, is priced at Dh130,000 per night.

Hotel room rates in Abu Dhabi are also competitively priced compared to those in Dubai.

“As we move into 2014, we will focus heavily on the messaging that Abu Dhabi is a luxury, yet highly affordable destination,” said Mubarak Al Muhairi, the director general of TCA Abu Dhabi.

The average daily room rate in August in Abu Dhabi was Dh363, up 7 per cent from August last year, TCA said. In Dubai it was Dh731.20 in August this year, up 8.6 per cent from last year, according to the hotel industry research firm STR Global.

Saudi guests stayed two nights on average in the emirate last month, when more than 251,00 guests checked into Abu Dhabi’s hotels and hotel apartments.

That was an increase of 37 per cent rise from the same month last year.

ssahoo@thenational.ae