Hospitality in the Middle East

Published on December 31, 2023   19 min
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Hello, I'm Hala Matar Choufany, the Regional President for HVS in the Middle East, Africa & South Asia. I will be discussing hospitality in the Middle East. Therefore, welcome to a new series of HVS talks and the vibrant world of the hospitality industry in the Middle East region.
In the next 15 minutes, I will share with you a brief summary about the evolution and characteristics of the hospitality market in the Middle East region. We will also take a closer look at Dubai, in particular, and highlight the success factors in creating a well-established destination. The Middle East region boasts a diverse range of hospitality offerings. From luxurious five-star hotels to boutique resorts and traditional guesthouses, all of which are designed to offer Arabian hospitality. Throughout the last 25 years, there has been significant investments made in the hotel and hospitality sector in the region with the launch of national airlines, aggressive tourism budgets, and sizable developments.
In recent years, the Middle East has seen remarkable growth in the hospitality sector with major international hotel chains and local developers continuously investing in new and innovative projects. This has resulted in the emergence of iconic landmarks, such as the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the Emirates Palace and Abu Dhabi, and the Alila Jabal Akhdar in Omã to name a few. The timeline, as seen on the slide suggests that the region experienced significant change to its hospitality offering landscape since 2000 supported by the rise in internationally branded hotels and an increase in the number of visitors. Few internationally managed hotels were developed in the 1960s and continue to be landmark projects signifying the start of the tourism era. Today, major hotel companies, such as Hilton, IHG, Marriott, and Accor had combined 506 hotels and roughly 160,000 rooms in the Middle East region. The leader of the number of hotels is Accor with 174 hotels followed by Hilton at 150. While there remains to be great development and investment opportunities, the region continues to face a number of challenges including political unrest, economical challenges, and dependency on oil price fluctuation. We will therefore take a closer look at the largest and more stable economies in the region.