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Over 60,000 guests to keep Abu Dhabi hotels busy during Formula 1 weekend

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on November 24, 2016 | Last updated on November 24, 2016 at 07.22 pm
Over 60,000 guests to keep Abu Dhabi hotels busy during Formula 1 weekend
A number of four and five-star hotels in Abu Dhabi are forecast to be fully booked over all three days of the 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

(Supplied photo)

A number of four- and five-star hotels in capital forecast to be fully booked over all three days of racing

Hotels in Abu Dhabi expect to reap the windfall of almost full occupancy as more than 60,000 race fans set to converge on the capital for the 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and related festivities between November 25 and 27.

A number of four and five-star hotels in the capital are forecast to be fully booked over all three days of racing, while others are 100 per cent full on individual days, according to Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

Saif Saeed Ghobash, director-general of TCA Abu Dhabi, said since 2009 when Abu Dhabi hosted its first Grand Prix, the annual event has become one of the most important highlights in the year-round calendar attracting tens of thousands of fans to the capital city and millions more to watch all around the world.

"It is an ideal opportunity for us to show the ability to host global events while also showcasing our diverse and impressive range of attractions, infrastructure and accommodation. We are also able to give our visitors a taste of our traditions, culture and heritage which make Abu Dhabi such a distinctive and desirable destination to visit," said Ghobash.

He said guest arrivals into the emirate increasing by eight per cent in the first 10 months of this year compared to 2015, with visitor arrivals reaching 3,641,234 on the back of roadshows, the hosting of leading tourism delegations and aggressive marketing in key local and international markets. Guest nights have also increased by two per cent over the same corresponding period to 9,850,881 in Abu Dhabi's hotels and hotel apartments.

TCA Abu Dhabi expects further surge in visitor numbers following the launch of a new global destination campaign aimed at encouraging travellers to experience Abu Dhabi's 'extraordinary stories'. The campaign comprising of television commercials dedicated to the GCC and international markets, is now being broadcast and run across TV networks, digital channels and in-flight entertainment systems, TCA Abu Dhabi said in a statement.

It said Abu Dhabi's the hotel industry has been maintaining a steadfast momentum following a record 2015 with a continued focus on attracting guests from leading markets and the authority remains confident in it strategy and ability to meet its ambitious targets.

"The general trend for Abu Dhabi's hospitality market has been positive growth of tourism demand being offset by a decline in corporate demand and new supply completions. In balance this has resulted in a slight increase in demand reducing pressure on occupancy rates but a decline in average room rates," a report by JLL said.

Hotel occupancies in Abu Dhabi have remained largely stable at 70 per cent this quarter with a marginal decline of 2.3 per cent compared to the same period last year. According to the report, the hospitality industry's diversification towards leisure tourism continues to gain traction and has reduced pressure on occupancy rates, JLL report noted.

"With the growth of the capital's cruise tourism sector and the development of forthcoming attractions including Warner Bros. Abu Dhabi theme park, the Authority is in an excellent position to capitalise on cementing Abu Dhabi's position as a cosmopolitan cultural powerhouse," said TCA Abu Dhabi report.

While domestic tourism has increased by nine per cent in the first nine months of the year compared to the previous year, India has continued to stamp its authority as the top overseas market seeing 18 per cent growth year on year up until September, with their number of guest nights also increasing by three per cent

In the first half of this year, 152,423 Indians checked into Abu Dhabi hotels, a 20 per cent increase year-on-year. With more than 300 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and Indian cities, "the emirate could be promoted within India as a convenient short-break choice, a luxury wedding celebration destination and a world-class meeting and convention venue, TCA Abu Dhabi statement said.

The UK remains the largest source market in Europe with guest arrivals increasing by three per cent year-on-year. China is the third largest overseas market with 19 per cent more visitors in the first nine months of this year compared to 2015 reaching 163,935 guest arrivals. A delegation of leading Chinese tour operators will be attending the Grand Prix as guests of TCA Abu Dhabi.

- issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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