The future of hospitality in the GCC 

The future of hospitality in the GCC 


Rabih Fakhreddine, the founder and CEO of 7 Management, explores the rapid growth in hospitality in the Gulf.

Research and Markets reports that the GCC hospitality industry surged to USD 25.61 billion in 2022. Moreover, it is set on an upward trajectory to reach USD 37.62 billion by 2028. This significant growth underscores the sector’s burgeoning potential. It also signals the region’s concerted efforts to secure a dominant stance in the global hospitality arena.

Leading the charge is Dubai with its USD 8.7 trillion economic development plan. Moreover, it is closely followed by the UAE’s ambitious USD 27 billion tourism initiative. Not to be outdone, Saudi Arabia aims to attract an impressive 150 million foreign tourists by 2030. These monumental investments are clear indicators of the GCC’s commitment to harnessing hospitality as a pivotal strength.

The allure of the GCC as a holiday destination is undeniable. Moreover, it boasts modern infrastructure, captivating culture and luxurious amenities. Consequently, the region promises an unmatched level of comfort and convenience. Additionally, its strategic location further enhances its appeal, offering easy access to tourists from across the globe. Furthermore, the GCC is renowned for its safety and security, adding to its attractiveness as a travel destination.

Emerging trends in the GCC

As we progress into 2024, several emerging trends are poised to revolutionize the hospitality market in the GCC. First and foremost, technology stands at the forefront, with the sector witnessing the integration of advanced systems designed to enrich guest experiences and streamline operations. From contactless check-in/check-out processes to digital concierge services and personalized engagement through AI, the technological evolution within hospitality is boundless.

Sustainability in the GCC

Sustainability, spurred by COP28 in Dubai, is another trend gaining momentum. With an increasing number of guests prioritizing environmental responsibility, the hospitality industry is responding with eco-friendly procedures. The practices range from energy-efficient designs to local sourcing of food and beverages.

The GCC’s culinary scene

Transitioning to the culinary scene in the GCC, a cornerstone of its hospitality sector, is also embracing sustainability. Diners are increasingly choosing brands based on their environmental credentials. Consequently, this leads to a rise in demand for sustainable and locally sourced dining options. Moreover, the future promises even more innovation, with augmented reality menus and virtual dining experiences set to redefine the gastronomic landscape.

Slow travel

Additionally, the concept of slow travel is gaining popularity. This shift emphasizes longer stays and immersive experiences. Moreover, this aligns with the GCC’s luxury and fast-paced lifestyle. Thus, the market offers a diverse range of wellness services, including spa treatments and yoga retreats.

Events and festivals

Events and festivals are emerging as pivotal elements of the GCC’s tourism strategy, encompassing cultural, sports and business gatherings. Moreover, these events not only showcase the region’s rich heritage and contemporary culture but also draw significant domestic and international attention.

Saudi Arabia, in particular, is emerging as a key player in the tourism sector. Fueled by Vision 2030, the kingdom aims to increase tourism contribution to GDP from 3 percent in 2019 to 10 percent by 2030. Furthermore, as 2024 unfolds, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious efforts are set to challenge its GCC counterparts, further enhancing the region’s global tourism appeal.

In conclusion, the future of hospitality in the GCC countries is bright. It is notably characterized by technological advancements, sustainability and a focus on wellness and immersive travel experiences. Continuing to invest and evolve, the region aims to lead the global tourism industry with its hospitality sector advancements.

Rabih Fakhreddine blue

Rabih Fakhreddine,
the founder and CEO of 7 Management

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