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$27bn worth of hotel projects in GCC pipeline, says report

July 14, 2021
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While there is $27 billion worth of hotel investments in the pipeline in the GCC, more than $3.5 billion worth of new hotel projects in the region have been awarded since the start of 2020 alone, a report said.

These new investments are mainly located in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, including phases five and six at Jabal Omar, Makkah; the Jewel of the Creek development in Dubai; and Qetaifan Island North in Qatar, according to the fourth annual AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast released by the Arabian & African Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC).

Research into the GCC hotels projects market conducted by Meed Projects, a division of Meed, co-organiser of AHIC alongside Bench.

The 17th edition of the event returns to Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai live and in person from September 20-22, 2021.

Ed James, director of content and analysis at Meed Projects, said: “Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, the hotel industry is still optimistic about its medium-term outlook.

“Some $3.5 billion worth of hotel construction contracts have been awarded across the GCC over the past 18 months during the height of the pandemic, indicating that investors expect the market to return to normality in the next two to three years when the new projects are due to open.”

James continued: “Longer-term, the industry is even more bullish, with $27 billion worth of hotel investments in the pipeline.

“The majority of these are comprised of the ‘gigaproject’ tourism investments in Saudi Arabia led by the Red Sea Project, Neom, Amaala, Diriyah Gate and Al-Ula, to name but a few.

“All told, these will add more than 40,000 rooms to the Kingdom’s emerging hospitality sector, as it seeks to diversify its economy to become a leading global player in the luxury and high-end tourism market.”

The figures also include a mega-project planned for Oman, the Yenkit Hills development, which will feature two five-star hotels and other tourism and residential units.

Based on the current pipeline of hotel and serviced apartment project completions in the GCC, an estimated 75,900 rooms are forecast to be added across the region in the period 2021-24.

The future outlook for hotel investment in the Middle East and Africa will be discussed in depth at the 17th edition of AHIC, with analysts from research companies including STR, HotStats, HVS, and JLL set to add more insight on the region’s recovery, performance and pipeline.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench and founder of AHIC, said: “The AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast is a valuable piece of research from our partners at Meed, which sets a hugely positive tone for the conversations at AHIC 2021. The industry is already well on the road to recovery and we are looking forward to providing a much-needed platform for investors and operators to meet and do business.

“We have long championed Saudi Arabia’s diverse and inspiring tourism landscape through the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), which will be part of this year’s new-look AHIC, so we are incredibly excited to see the market come to the forefront as the industry recovers from the impact of Covid-19.”

Reimagined for 2021, the Arabian & African Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC) will bring together the four close-knit investment communities of the Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC), Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF).

Under the theme ‘Rise Together’, hotel and restaurant owners, developers, investors and operators will debate and discuss issues impacting the ‘Great Reset’, as the industry seeks to emerge from the pandemic, stronger and more resilient than ever.

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