According to the Q3 2021 Middle East Construction Pipeline Trend Report from Lodging Econometrics (LE), at the end of the quarter, the hotel construction pipeline in the region stands at 545 projects/168,042 rooms. While the number of total pipeline projects has increased over the previous quarter, project counts are down 6% and room counts are down 19% year-over-year (YOY).
Projects presently under construction stand at 350 projects/108,244 rooms, down slightly by 3% by projects and 8% by rooms YOY. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are down 8% by projects and 10% by rooms YOY to end the third quarter at 78 projects/18,682 rooms. Projects in the early planning stage are at 117 projects/26,299 rooms.
Approximately 18 months after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting halt to international travel and tourism, the Middle East’s hospitality industry has been slow to recover. While the region’s road to recovery thus far has been longer than originally expected, recent statistics suggest there is a brighter future ahead. A rise in tourism from neighboring countries over recent months has provided a much needed boost to the region’s travel and tourism sector. This upward trend is expected to continue into 2022, and as more countries open borders to foreign travelers.
Middle Eastern countries with the greatest number of projects in the construction pipeline are Saudi Arabia, with 194 projects/66,885 rooms and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) with 146 projects/40,846 rooms. Egypt follows with 67 projects/15,892 rooms then Qatar with 62 projects/14,859 rooms. Continuing to lead the construction pipeline in the U.A.E. is Dubai, with 111 projects/32,369 rooms.
Cities with the largest hotel construction pipelines at the end of the quarter are the Provincial region in Saudi Arabia with 65 projects/13,073 rooms; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 projects/11,005 rooms; Doha, Qatar, reaching a cyclical peak with 51 projects/12,282 rooms; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with 44 projects/8,974 rooms; and Makkah, Saudi Arabia, with 33 projects/33,833 rooms. A total of 45% of the projects in the construction pipeline in the Middle East are found within these five cities.
At the end of the third quarter, 47% of the projects in the pipeline in the Middle East belong to three leading franchise companies: Hilton with 95 projects/24,963 rooms, followed by Accor with 90 projects having 26,052 rooms and next is Marriott International with 73 projects/21,770 rooms.
At the end of the quarter, the leading brands in the pipeline for these companies are Hilton’s DoubleTree with 28 projects/6,366 rooms and Hilton Hotel & Resort with 19 projects/152 rooms. Accor’s Novotel follows with 13 projects/4,777 rooms and Ibis brands with 10 projects/3,750 rooms, then Marriott’s Courtyard with 16 projects/3,650 rooms and Residence Inn with nine projects accounting for 1,196 rooms.
Through the third quarter, the Middle East opened 33 new hotels with 7,987 rooms, but only seven new hotels accounting for 1,953 rooms opened in Q3. LE is forecasting 20 additional new hotel openings with 4,454 rooms by year-end. The forecast for new hotel openings anticipates 112 projects/27,376 rooms to open in 2022 and another 119 projects/31,043 rooms are forecasted to open in 2023.