Hotel industry to see injection of $15 billion in new projects

The InterContinental Heliopolis in Cairo.

Major expansion in the Middle East hotel industry will see an estimated $15 billion invested in up to 220 new hotel projects, according to data compiled by event management and marketing specialists, Streamline Marketing.

The UAE leads the way with as many as 67 new hotels planned within the next few years, followed by Egypt with 39, Saudi Arabia 22, Jordan 16, Lebanon 15, and Oman 11.

Another nine new hotels each are expected to be built in Bahrain, Kuwait and Morocco, with eight in Syria, five in Qatar, four in Tunisia and three each in Yemen and Libya.

Using sources including TRI Hospitality, which calculates that the number of luxury hotels planned in Dubai alone could rise to 120, the research carried out by Streamline Marketing includes confirmed and unconfirmed projects and highlights the enormous demand in the Middle East for hotel products and services.

A huge range of these will be brought together under one roof during The Hotel Show, the region's leading exhibition for hotel suppliers, taking place at Airport Expo Dubai from May 19 to 21.

"Hotel development is set to continue at a rapid rate across the Middle East, highlighting the belief that the region has a very bright long-term future as a major tourism destination," said Joanne Evans, director of Streamline Marketing, organisers of The Hotel Show.

"Suppliers of products and services to the hotel industry are well aware of the lucrative nature of the Middle East market. We expect all records to be broken at this year's exhibition, in terms of the number of exhibitors, the volume of visiting hotel owners and developers, and in the amount of business done, which should be worth many millions of dollars," she said. The project expected to have the biggest impact over the tourism industry in the region is Dubai's $3 billion Palm development, which alone could add up to 98 hotels with 23,200 rooms to the existing supply. To date, 40 of 49 hotel plots at The Palm Jumeirah have been booked, and investment of $2 billion is confirmed for three of these projects, while marketing of plots on The Palm Jebel Ali is yet to begin.

Six Continents Hotels, the Middle East's largest hotel operator, will add five new properties to its portfolio of 63 hotels this year. These include four hotels in Egypt - the InterContinental Heliopolis Cairo, the InterContinental Resort Taba Heights, the InterContinental Resort Soma Bay and the Holiday Inn Heliopolis - as well as the Holiday Inn Doha.