UAE hotel development pipeline to grow to 48,000 keys by 2030

Dubai is set to account for the lion’s share of this total, with 76% of all new rooms coming to the emirate

The UAE’s hotel development pipeline has swelled to 48,000 keys, according to research carried out by Knight Frank. According to the consultancy’s latest analysis, the delivery of the planned hotel room supply is forecast to cost approximately US $32bn. Furthermore, it added that a growing number of international operators are rushing to be part of the world’s most successful hospitality markets.

“The UAE’s world-leading hospitality market is set to expand by 25% by 2030, with a further 48,000 rooms adding to the nation’s extensive 200,000 key portfolio. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dubai is set to account for the lion’s share of this total, with 76% of all new rooms coming to the emirate, which already boasts over 130,000 rooms. This stockpile of hotel rooms is already higher than cities like London or New York,” said Faisal Durrani, Partner – Head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank.

He added, “The emirate has cemented its status as a city with universal appeal, in large part to the world-leading government response to the pandemic and some of the world’s most visited and incredible attractions. The accolades for Dubai keep coming – Trip Advisor’s most popular destination for 2022, the world’s busiest international airport and the highest hotel occupancy in the world, all of which strongly pointing to room for further growth and expansion of this all-important pillar in the economy”.

In August 2022, Dubai topped ‘getaway break’ rankings according to rental search engine Holidu.

Knight Frank estimates that by 2030, the Accor Group will cement its place as UAE’s largest hotel room operator, with close to 25,000 rooms under management, a position the group also enjoys in Saudi Arabia.

Turab Saleem, Partner – Head of Tourism and Hospitality, Knight Frank, explained: “The UAE’s vibrant hospitality market continues to expand, with a clear focus on the luxury end of the price spectrum. Our analysis shows that 70% of all the rooms planned will fall in the 4- and 5-star category.

“This comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with what is set to be one of the world’s most ambitious hospitality development programmes that will see more than 275,000 hotel rooms built across the Kingdom over the course of the 2020’s at a total cost of $110bn. The region’s transforming hospitality sector is set to create a very attractive proposition for global travellers”.

In September 2022, it was announced that Abu Dhabi National Hotels intends to develop a 1,000 key resort on Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah.

Durrani added that the success of the UAE’s hospitality market means international operators are keen to continue cementing their presence. He pointed out that the proportion of international operators to local ones is set to rise to 60%, from 56% today.

“Interestingly, Hilton Hotels will add the most rooms overall, with close to 5,000 new keys expected by the end of the decade, a 43% increase on today. This mirrors the group’s plans in Saudi, where Hilton hotels will emerge as the second biggest operator by 2030 with 19,000 rooms under management, around 3,000 rooms more than the group will have in the UAE by that stage,” he said.

“The UAE’s three biggest cities – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, continue to lead the region in terms of hotel performance, but Saudi Arabia’s existing cities are poised to experience a sea change in demand as Vision 2030 unfolds and business as well as leisure travel begins to overwhelm the existing supply, which will inevitably translate into heightened room rates and ADRs, at least while the existing number of keys remains inadequate for the demand yet to come,” concluded Saleem.

Late in September 2022, Accor said it would open 38 branded residences by 2024, 40% of which would be located in India, Turkey, Africa and the Middle East.

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