MENA to See $30B in Hotel Development by 2023

DUBAI—The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2019 has released the second annual “AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast,” which reveals that close to $30 billion worth of hotel construction contracts will be awarded in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) between now and 2023.

According to the research, which was conducted by MEED Projects in Q4 2018, hotel development is most active in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, making these the markets to watch in 2019.

Ed James, director of content and analysis at leading projects tracking service, MEED Projects, said: “More than 800 new hotels worth in excess of $44 billion have been built over the past seven years in the Middle East and North Africa, as the region benefits from increased visitor numbers, new world-class tourist attractions and investment in transport infrastructure.

“Leading the way in this tourism drive has been the UAE, with more than $20 billion worth of hotel construction contracts awarded since 2012. This total is more than double the amount awarded in the second-highest country, Saudi Arabia, which saw just over $10 billion worth of hotel deals awarded in the same timeframe,” said James.

According to the “AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast, the levels of investment show no signs of slowing.

“Just under $30 billion worth of hotels are due to be awarded in the region over the next five years,” revealed James. “The UAE again leads the way with almost $11 billion worth of planned and un-awarded hotel projects, including The Address Harbour Point, MGM Resorts and Warner Bros. hotels in Dubai, and Marriott Resort Ras al-Khaimah, to name but a few.”

He continued: “Egypt, which has a long-established tourism sector, is the second largest future market with just over $4 billion worth of hotel projects. It is followed closely by Saudi Arabia at $ 3.9 billion.”

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events and founder of AHIC, said, “Tourism has boomed in the MENA region as a result of governments’ commitments to diversifying their economies. Relaxed visa regulations, enhanced marketing, and investment in key attractions and events, such as Louvre Abu Dhabi, Dubai Parks and Resorts, and the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, have helped drive a record numbers of tourists to the region. Saudi Arabia has made tourism a centerpiece of its 2030 Vision with the multibillion-dollar Neom and Red Sea mega-developments. At the same time, investment in new hotels and renovations of older properties has helped propel the Middle East into one of the world’s fastest growing tourism hot spots.”

Hotel investment prospects for the region will be discussed in depth at the 15th edition of AHIC, which will take place from April 9-11, at a new purpose-built AHIC Village on the grounds of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA).