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Hotel Development in Prime GCC Tourism Destinations Growing at Six Times Global Average

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 (ATM) 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 percent, followed by Riyadh, Medina and Muscat with 66 percent, 60 percent and 59 percent growth respectively.

In Dubai, rooms growth stands at 26 percent, 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, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on May 9-12 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.”

According to the report, there are almost 2.5 million hotel rooms currently under contract around the world, 3,2 percent 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 (March 31), 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.