Abu Dhabi emirate recorded a 14% increase on guest numbers across its 116 licensed hotels and hotel apartments last month compared to May 2009, accordingly to newly released Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority figures.

Rising to 161,004, the May performance took the overall first five months of this year hotel guest total to 790,812 – a 16% increase on the same period last year. The performance represents the seventh consecutive month of double-digit guest growth for the emirate.

“We are well on course to achieve our 2010 target of 1.65 million hotel guests,” said His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

“We are now focussed on keeping the momentum going. We have significantly expanded our Summer in Abu Dhabi family festival to take in Abu Dhabi city and, for the first time, Al Ain to help keep the momentum going and the industry has responded well with a wealth of one-for-one visitor stay incentives. With headline shows, in-mall entertainment and deals across attractions, shops and restaurants, we are looking to also encourage the average length of stay.

“With the planned opening of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi this October and the peak Grand Prix season yet to come, target attainment is well within our reach.”

Guest nights in May this year rose 12% on May 2009 and for the year-to-May showed an 11% increase.

“Increased room inventory on last year has made the market much more competitive and impacted occupancy and revenue levels. The upside, of course, is that the destination as a whole now sits in a much more competitive position than it was a year ago which, in the long term, will be sustainable benefits,” said Al Muhairi. Abu Dhabi currently has around 17,500 hotel/hotel apartment rooms as compared with about 12,500 in May last year.

Occupancy levels were 61% this May – a 17% decline on May 2009 while revenue declined 9% to AED 330 million though food and beverage revenue for the first five months of the year is showing a 14% increase on 2009.

Domestic tourism again held its own growing by 18% year-on-year to 67,808 hotel guests. The UK was again the emirate’s biggest individual international market growing by 12% month-on-month to 10,031.

The GCC again proved its value with a 32% month-on-month growth with Saudi Arabia being the top performing Gulf market notching up a 44% growth to 2,915 and becoming Abu Dhabi’s 10th most important hotel guest source.