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Active GCC Hotel Development Pipeline Now Equal to 40 Percent of Existing Room Supply

According to new research commissioned by Arabian Travel Market (ATM), and conducted at the end of September of this year by hotel market intelligence and global benchmarking company STR, the GCC region now has over 170,000 hotel rooms under active development (planning, final planning and under construction).

This is equivalent to 40 percent of the GCC’s existing hotel room inventory, a figure almost four times greater than the rest of the world which currently lags behind at an average of 11 percent under active development compared with existing supply.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, Arabian Travel Market, said, “Between EXPO 2020, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision2030 strategy, the GCC’s hospitality sector development pipeline remains robust in contrast to global hotel development, which is slowing, due to weak economic growth forecasts. While the hospitality sector’s growth does highlight the region’s increasing popularity on the global stage, it is also indicative of regional government strategy, to diversify GDP growth away from hydrocarbons into tourism, that will help to drive demand still further, over the coming years.”

The STR report estimates 135,560 existing rooms in Saudi Arabia with an active pipeline of 82,639 rooms, with total room inventory projected for 2030, at over 218,000 rooms. Similarly for the UAE, STR currently tracks more than 202,000 existing rooms with an active pipeline of 48,910 rooms, a combined total of almost 251,000 rooms by 2030.

“Interestingly, Ras Al Khaimah, is second only to Dubai, with 5.076 rooms in its pipeline, almost the same amount as Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah combined,” said Curtis.

The UAE’s historic occupancy performance provides a blueprint of what the region can expect as new rooms enter the market. Rooms supply increased by more than 70,000 rooms between 2010 and 2019, a staggering 68 percent increase in supply or about 6% average annual growth.