Hotel guests staying in Abu Dhabi in January soared by nearly 30 percent compared to the same month in 2011, the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority said on Tuesday.

A total of 198,139 tourists stayed in the UAE capital's 127 hotels, hotel apartments and resorts, with the number of guest nights also rising by 20 percent to 571,672.

Combined revenue for Abu Dhabi's hotels rose 11 percent last month compared to January 2011 to AED408m ($111m).

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Food and beverage revenue rose 18 percent during the same period to AED155.3m.


Hotel occupancy stabilised at 66 percent although average length of stay was down slightly by 7 percent to 2.89 days and the average room rate dropped by 6 percent to AED503.

Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, said: "The strong increase in guest arrivals and guest nights appears to have been significantly influenced by January's dynamic events calendar, which included the hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race and the fortnight of activities staged to coincide with it, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the World Future Energy Summit."

He added: "This is all promising news on which to start the year given that the past 12 months has seen considerable additions to the destination hotel room inventory. Competition has heightened, yet new beachfront and golf course fronting properties are significantly enhancing our leisure appeal."

Al Muhairi said good results for February were also expected with the recent World Ophthalmology Congress having delivered significant bookings for the hospitality sector.

India maintained its ranking as the destination's second largest international source market, after the UK, with a 45 percent rise in hotel guests to 10,924 delivering 37,559 guest nights.

European guests increased 30 percent last month on January 2011 with Germany turning in a strong 64 percent increase to be the third largest international source market.

The UK produced a 15 percent increase to 13,005, France accounted for a 22 percent rise to 4004, while Italy turned in a 20 percent surge to 3,556 and The Netherlands climbed 47 percent to 1532.

Chinese visitors soared by 235 percent in January compared to the same month last year to deliver 4407 arrivals, 7339 guest nights, and taking the country to eighth in the emirate's guest rankings.

"Prospects from China should increase further with the impending March 1st launch, by Etihad Airways of a daily non-stop service from Shanghai to Abu Dhabi International," said Al Muhairi.