Abu Dhabi aiming to attract 3.1 million tourists in 2014

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi aims to attract more than 3 million visitors in 2014 after a record-breaking year that was boosted by double-digit growth at the city’s airport.

Abu Dhabi aiming to attract 3.1 million tourists in 2014

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi aims to attract more than 3 million visitors in 2014 after a record-breaking year that was boosted by double-digit growth at the city’s airport.

“Given the fact that we have now achieved the original hotel guest targets set for 2014, we have reviewed our goals and are uplifting our sights by 10 per cent,” said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. “We are now looking to achieve 3.1 million hotel guests this year.”

The hospitality sector was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the 12.4 per cent increase in passenger growth at Abu Dhabi International Airport to 16.5 million passengers.

Last year, Abu Dhabi reported record tourist arrivals of 2.8 million, a rise of 12 per cent over 2012.

For hotels and hotel apartments, revenues rose 18 per cent to Dh5.48 billion.

Guests have also started to stay longer in the emirate’s 150 hotels and hotel apartments. The average length of stay rose 7 per cent to 3.13 nights and occupancy rates rose 9 per cent to 71 per cent.

Despite the demand, room rates held steady during the year. The average room rate dipped marginally by 1 per cent to Dh447.60 as more hotel properties were completed. The rise in tourist numbers has coincided with Etihad Airways’ rapid route expansion.

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It launched flights to Washington, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo, Ho Chi Minh, Belgrade and Sana’a, besides increasing frequencies on other existing routes.

India remained the largest source market for Abu Dhabi with 175,929 travellers, a 27 per cent rise on 2012 visiting the emirate last year.

Guests from the United Kingdom followed with 162,973 Britons visiting last year, a 16 per cent lift on the previous year.

Germany came in third with 119,590 hotel guests.

Domestic tourists, however, remained the largest group of travellers. Almost a third of the total, or 960,476, checked into hotels here. That represents a rise of 8 per cent on 2012.

Among the new airlines to connect with Abu Dhabi were Air Baltic and Philippines Airlines, with new routes to Riga in Latvia and Manila in the Philippines.

The airport was the most popular with passengers travelling to and from India, Germany, England, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

The airport’s Midfield Terminal project, which is expected to open in July 2017, will increase its capacity to 30 million passengers a year. The current capacity is 12.5 million.

Business activity at the airport also improved.

Last year, the airport handled 706,000 tonnes of cargo, a rise of 24.4 per
cent.
In December alone, more than 1.5 million people passed through the airport, an increase of 14.4 per cent compared to the previous December. The volume of cargo handled was up 27 per cent to 66,000 tonnes.

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