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ITIC-ATM Middle East Summit to Shine Spotlight on Post-Pandemic Project Financing

Industry experts will gather to discuss ‘the Middle East as a financial hub for future worldwide tourism investment’ during the upcoming ITIC-ATM Middle East Summit at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022, which will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from May 09-12.

Hosted jointly by ATM and the International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC), this year’s summit will be held on May 10, shining a spotlight on access to project finance in the post-Covid era.

According to analysis from BNC Network, hotel contracts worth USD4,5 billion are expected to be awarded in the GCC during this year, representing year-on-year growth of 16 percent.

The UAE generated the highest value of cumulative hospitality-related contracts in the GCC in 2021, followed by Saudi Arabia. The combined value of UAE and KSA projects accounted for more than 90 percent of all hospitality contracts awarded in the region during 2021, according to the research.

On a regional level, data released by STR shows that more than 169,000 pipeline rooms are currently under contract across the Middle East, the three most active cities being Dubai, Makkah and Doha, respectively.

This year’s ITIC-ATM Middle East Summit therefore represents a timely opportunity for travel and tourism professionals to explore regional investment opportunities, discover new modes of financing and network with peers from around the world.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, ME, Arabian Travel Market, said, “Development in the Middle East is progressing at a rapid pace. Fuelled by ambitious national initiatives such as Expo 2020 Dubai, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Saudi Vision 2030, our region is witnessing significant levels of tourism-related investment, and this trend shows no sign of abating anytime soon. The ITIC-ATM Middle East Summit is the ideal forum in which to discuss trends, identify opportunities and explore the project financing models that are being employed across our region.”

Analysts from Colliers International note that although the GCC’s transactional market has been less active than its counterparts historically, recent sales such as the Address Portfolio (USD500 million in 2019) and Aldar Properties’ acquisition of Rixos Bab Al Bahr (USD205 million in this year) are indicative of future growth. Their research predicts that the GCC transactional market will continue to mature as regional tourism markets reach a stabilised development phase.

Colliers International also points out that while the UAE market accounts for the lion’s share of regional hospitality investment at present, contract values in Saudi Arabia, which has announced numerous giga projects and masterplan developments during recent years, will attract significant investment over the longer term.