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Jan. 30--Abu Dhabi?s 150 hotels and hotel apartments showed an 18 per cent rise in guest numbers in 2012, beating annual target of 2.5 million.

The hotel industry had its best year yet in terms of guest arrivals, guest nights, length-of-stay and revenues, according to figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

The latest data showed that last year 2,806,283 guests checked into the emirate's 150 hotels and hotel apartments -- a rise of 18 per cent on 2012 and beating the authority's annual target of 2.5 million. The 2013 guest intake delivered close to 8.8 million guest nights, a 26 per cent uplift on 2012, with total revenue climbing 18 per cent to Dh5.48 billion.

"This is a highly satisfying performance particularly as we have seen 13 more hotels and hotel apartments open in 2013 and now have 10 per cent more hotel rooms, totalling just over 26,000, than we had at the end of 2012," Shaikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman, TCA Abu Dhabi, said in a statement to

"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. We are now looking to achieve 3.1 million hotel guests this year with a 10 per cent year-on-year compounded growth in the near term."

Average room rate over the year slipped by one per cent to Dh447.60.

Agreeing with the growth, the emirate had in the year, Ayman Ashor, general manager of Tilal Liwa, said his property in the Western region has managed to even exceed the total occupancy in 2013 by two points more than the year before. He said occupancy levels have reached with 74 per cent for the whole year and managed to optimise 12 per cent in Average Room Rate. Domestic tourism remained a mainstay of the destination, accounting for just over a third of all arrivals -- 960,476 in total which grew eight per cent on 2012.

According to the TCA data, India became Abu Dhabi's largest overseas source market for hotel guests, attracting some 175,929 -- a 27 per cent rise on 2012.

The UK was the second largest overseas producer, with 162,973 Britons checking into the emirate's hotels last year -- a 16 per cent lift on 2012 followed by Germans with 119,590 hotel guests -- a 24 per cent uplift on 2012. "We are quietly optimistic about reaching our revised 2014 target with new initiatives coming to market, including one which will incentivise the private events sector to bring their products to Abu Dhabi," said Shaikh Sultan.

"Last year's excellent performance was achieved through greater stakeholder engagement and with the solid support of a growing and highly pro-active stakeholder base. We want to thank them for their efforts and believe that together, with a one-destination approach, we can continue our upward momentum."

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