Despite the pandemic headwinds that the global hospitality industry has had to contend with over the past two years, new hotel development in prime tourism destinations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE, remains substantial even by global standards.
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%, followed by Riyadh, Medina and Muscat with 66%, 60% and 59% growth respectively.
In Dubai, rooms growth stands at 26%, which is still extraordinary, considering its existing base and following years of continuous hotel development – it is still more than double the global average.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME – Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 9-12 May 2022 said, “With the global average sitting at 12% 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% 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 (31 March 2022), 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.
Now in its 29th year and working in collaboration with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) – formerly the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) – ATM show highlights in 2022 will include, among others, destination summits focused on the key source markets of Saudi Arabia, Russia and India.
One new feature this year will be ATM Travel Tech. Previously called Travel Forward, the rebranded and revamped event will feature the ATM Travel Tech Stage hosting seminars, debates and presentations including pitches from finalists in the brand-new ATM Draper-Aladdin Start-up Competition.
The dedicated ARIVALDubai@ATM forum will cover current and future trends for tour operators and attractions, focusing on growing business through marketing, technology, distribution, thought leadership and executive-level connections.
ATM will once again play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week, a festival of events dedicated to enabling travel professionals from all over the world to collaborate and shape the recovery of the Middle East travel industry through exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches and networking events.
The UAE remains one of the most Covid-secure countries on the planet, with consistently low case rates and robust measures to ensure tourists’ safety at every stage of their visit. Like its neighbouring emirates, Dubai is committed to maintaining the highest hygiene and safety standards. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has endorsed its pandemic management, awarding the city a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.
In line with the UAE government’s forward-thinking transition to a four-and-a-half-day, Monday-to-Friday workweek, this year’s edition of ATM will commence on Monday 9 May.