Emirate is well on track to top last year's figures with major events such as F1 Gp and opening of the Louvre to boost arrivals
Abu Dhabi welcomes more than 3.5 million guests so far this year
Abu Dhabi has hosted more than 3.5 million visitors since the start of the year with Indian and Chinese tourists leading the way.
Hotel guests to all three regions of Abu Dhabi increased in total by 5 per cent in September compared to the same month last year with 415,985 domestic and international visitors checking in to one of the emirate’s 163 hotels or hotel apartments, according to the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi.
While September saw a slight drop in domestic tourists into Abu Dhabi, the month was marked by a surge in Chinese hotel guests, recording an increase of 133 per cent in comparison to September 2016. The rise to more than 28,000 Chinese guests in the month can be attributed to extensive marketing across China carried out by the department and the granting of visas on arrival from the start of the year to Chinese nationals, it said.
“China is showing outstanding growth for us and we have a long-term target of bringing 600,000 Chinese hotel guests a year to the emirate by 2021," said Saif Saeed Ghobash, the department's director general.
"To drive that kind of successful growth we recently ran our first ‘Abu Dhabi Week in China’ initiative to encourage even more businesses, partners and stakeholders to work with us in promoting the emirate.
"This promotional and marketing event, held in conjunction with our overseas offices, has also been rolled-out to India in October and November, with activity in Mumbai and Delhi to help drive inbound tourism."
India remained the largest international source market with more than 33,000 hotel guests during the month.
"We anticipate these weeks celebrating the best of Abu Dhabi becoming annual fixtures, with more cities in both countries being added to the agenda as we progress,” Mr Ghobash added.
The UK was third behind China showing a 5 per cent rise.
Total hotel guests during September rose 14 per cent in the Al Dhafra Region, 8 per cent in the Al Ain Region and 4 per cent in Abu Dhabi city with a total occupancy rate of 69 per cent. Guest nights also increased by 15, 6 and 5 per cent, respectively.
September’s rise has maintained the emirate’s 7 per cent increase over the year so far in the numbers of hotel guests staying in the emirate and leave it on track to surpass 2016’s total of 4.4 million guests.
“Globally, we have invested heavily in marketing Abu Dhabi as a destination of distinction, the perfect place to visit and explore, with an emphasis on an emirate steeped in history, culture and heritage," said Mr Ghobash.
"Our strategy is to highlight that Abu Dhabi has a wealth of natural and man-made attractions across all regions to entertain and excite the whole family while providing luxurious yet affordable choices of accommodation."
September also witnessed growth in hotel guests from the United States, a rise of 30 per cent compared to 2016, and in Germany, where there was a 20 per cent increase.
With growing global interest being show in the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island on November 11, the department is forecasting a strong end to the year, this being a traditionally busy time marked by an extensive set of events; the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Art, Abu Dhabi Food Festival, Al Dhafra Festival, the recently announced Dar Al Zain Festival in Al Ain, NYE Countdown Village in Abu Dhabi, and the ongoing Abu Dhabi Classics international concert series.
The new 2017/18 cruise season, which launched towards the end of October, is also expected to have a positive impact on visitor and hotel guest arrivals into the emirate during the last quarter of the year with passenger numbers anticipated to rise 5 per cent from last season’s total of 346,000 passengers, the department said.