ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi’s hotels saw a 33 percent jump in guests last February with occupancy growing four percent to 81 percent year-on-year.
The biggest arrivals were monitored from Abu Dhabi’s traditional markets of UK, and India. But, the arrivals of some 22,577 Chinese who checked into the emirate’s hotels in the first two months of the year, has given confidence to the local hospitality industry. The number of arrivals grew a whopping 182 percent year-on-year.
Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) numbers show that a total of 262,193 guests checked into the emirate’s accommodation during February, delivering a 21 percent month-on-month rise in guest nights to 815,718.
However, Abu Dhabi Airports has reported a 15.6 percent year-on-year increase in passenger traffic during the same month at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Jasem Al Darmaki, deputy director general, TCA Abu Dhabi linked the growth in Chinese tourism to new year celebrations which were organised in the emirate’s hotels and shopping malls and especially Al Maryah Island organised events at a grand scale that attracted tourists. “It is a time of year we will focus on in the future,” Al Darmaki said. Sharing his thoughts, Dominique Hebert, general manager of Centro Capital Centre & Centro Al Manhal agreed that this increase was due to the Chinese New Year, which brought in many Chinese people to celebrate this very special occasion outside their country. Describing factors that have boosted Chinese arrivals into Abu Dhabi, Hebert said that the average earning of the Chinese people is getting higher which is now allowing them to travel abroad and spend on lavish holidays.
The general manager said that increase in their disposable means higher cost of living, so many spend their vacations away from home, at cost effective tourism hotspots like Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi’s average room rate is currently around Dh453, according to Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
“Another major important factor is the increase and ease of air access from China to the capital which is one of the most essential things any traveller looks for,” Hebert said.
“The push for the Chinese market is not something that Abu Dhabi has started recently,” as he said “initiatives and projects have been taking place since years whether from the hosting of the ‘Chinese Visitors Summit’ that took place two years ago.”
The move, later resulted in naming Abu Dhabi the Best Luxury Mice Destination at China Travel and Meeting Industry Awards in Beijing, which has boosted the tourist numbers, he said.
Al Darmaki encouraged by the Chinese response said: “Our focus now will be to convince our Chinese guests to stay longer and to experience the widening tourism product of Abu Dhabi city and its surrounds and the wider emirate.”