Latest STR report highlights massive hotel development plans in Makkah, Doha, Riyadh, Medina, Muscat and Dubai.
Despite the pandemic headwinds that the global hospitality industry has had to contend with over the past two years, new hotel development in prime tourism destinations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE, remains substantial even by global standards.
According to new research commissioned by Arabian Travel Market and conducted at the end of 2021 by hotel market intelligence and global benchmarking company STR, Makkah and Doha are both expanding their hotel room inventory by 76%, followed by Riyadh, Medina and Muscat with 66%, 60% and 59% growth respectively.
In Dubai, rooms growth stands at 26%, which is still extraordinary, considering its existing base and following years of continuous hotel development – it is still more than double the global average.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME – Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 9-12 May 2022 said, “With the global average sitting at 12% we are witnessing multiple GCC destinations growing at six times those rates.”
“These figures coupled with the ongoing relaxation in travel restrictions, will undoubtedly encourage travel professionals throughout the Middle East and further afield. As such we are expecting a substantial increase in the number of participants at our live event this year, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE,” she added.
According to the report, there are almost 2.5 million hotel rooms currently under contract around the world, 3.2% or 80,000 rooms of that supply is taking place in Saudi Arabia alone.
Furthermore, although Expo 2020 in Dubai, is now drawing to a close (31 March 2022), the mega event has been the catalyst for accelerated hotel room growth in the UAE with almost 50,000 rooms still due to open across the Emirates.
Following closely behind is Doha with final preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022 now being put in place. Doha is on track to deliver 23,000 hotel rooms pre- and post-World Cup 2022, adding to the country’s burgeoning hotel property portfolio.
“Whilst the actual numbers may not seem particularly significant in comparison to the global hotel room pipeline, the growth above existing supply is staggering and underlines government strategy to diversify their economies away from hydrocarbon receipts and their confidence in the growth of tourism throughout the region,” said Curtis.
Now in its 29th year and working in collaboration with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) – formerly the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) – ATM show highlights in 2022 will include, among others, destination summits focused on the key source markets of Saudi Arabia, Russia and India.