Despite the pandemic headwinds that the global hospitality industry has had to contend with, new hotel development in prime spots in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE remains substantial.
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 per cent.
This is followed by Riyadh, Medina and Muscat with 66 per cent, 60 per cent and 59 per cent growth respectively.
In Dubai, rooms growth stands at 26 per cent, which is still “extraordinary,” researchers said, considering its existing base and following years of continuous hotel development.
The figure is still more than double the global average.
Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, Middle East, Arabian Travel Market, said: “With the global average sitting at 12 per cent 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 per cent 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, 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.