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Abu Dhabi Tourist Numbers Rise 10 Pct In Jan-May

Hotel revenues jump to $517 million; Average room rates down 15 pct on a year ago; Most visitors from Britain, biggest rise from Russia


July 4, 2011 2:12 by

The number of tourists in Abu Dhabi rose 10 percent in the first five months of this year while hotel revenues were up 6 percent, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) said on Monday.

The United Arab Emirates, the world’s third-biggest oil exporter, has been spared the regional political unrest challenging nearby Bahrain, as well as Oman and Yemen.

Hotels in the capital of the UAE in the five months had 866,501 guests in the first five months of 2011, staying a total 2.6 million guest nights, said ADTA.

Revenues rose to 1.9 billion dirhams ($517 million) despite falling room rates, while the average hotel occupancy rate jumped to 71 percent of capacity, an increase of 10 percent on the same period last year.

Abu Dhabi, which accounts for around 55 percent of the UAE economy, is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and infrastructure to diversify away from oil.

The emirate is hosting more leisure and entertainment events such as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as well as major conferences and exhibitions as it looks to woo more visitors.

The number of guests jumped 17.6 percent to 1.8 million last year, while the annual hotels occupancy rate dropped to 64.7 percent from 72.2 percent in 2009.

Average room rates are down 15 percent year-on-year but the length of stay in the emirate rose by 15 percent to just over three nights, ADTA said.

British nationals topped the list of guests with some 60,022 staying in Abu Dhabi’s hotels in the five-month period, up 17 percent year-on-year. The biggest increase came from Russia with a 46-percent jump in the number of visitors to 6,323. ($1=3.672 UAE dirhams) (Reporting by Jason Benham; Editing by Greg Mahlich)


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