Saudi Arabia leads the way for new projects

Saudi Arabia leads the way for new projects

A notable shift has occurred in the regional hotel construction landscape, which saw the UAE relinquishing its position as the leader in hotels under construction.

STR data further revealed that Saudi Arabia has taken the lead, with nearly twice the number of hotel rooms under construction compared to the UAE. Globally, Saudi Arabia stands just behind China and the US in terms of the current hotel construction activity. This shift in the regional hotel construction landscape indicates Saudi Arabia’s growing prominence in the hospitality sector, highlighting its commitment to expanding its tourism infrastructure and attracting more visitors to the country.

The robust growth of Saudi Arabia’s hospitality sector is evident as it currently leads in hotel construction, with 42,033 rooms being built. Following closely behind is the UAE, with 22,324 hotel rooms under construction.

Despite a slight decline in construction activity compared to the previous year, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region still maintains a promising hotel pipeline, with nearly 250,000 rooms currently under contract.

The data provided by STR, highlights that Saudi Arabia’s hotel construction pipeline ranks third globally, surpassed only by China with 299,458 rooms and the US with 154,284 rooms already underway.

In an exclusive comment to Hospitality News ME, Kostas Nikolaidis, Middle East and Africa executive for STR, commented: “The Middle East has been the epitome of new hotel development in the past decade. The spark that initially started in the UAE has turned into a roaring blaze that spread to Qatar and now Saudi Arabia. Investment in the region has been growing with stable oil prices ensuring a healthy fiscal balance for government budgets. However, the main driver has been the unwavering commitment and resolve by national leaders to prioritize the tourism and hospitality industry. The numbers are truly outstanding with Saudi Arabia now ranking third globally with 42,033 rooms under construction after China and the US. As more mega projects move forward to their next phases, the expectation is for the pipeline to continue to grow.”

As of March 2023, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region boasts a significant hotel construction pipeline, with over 119,500 rooms being built. However, this represents a 5.8 percent decrease compared to the previous year. Despite the decline, the region remains an active hub for hotel development.


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Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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