In the third quarter of 2019, the Middle East’s hotel construction pipeline reached 625 hotels and 178,433 rooms, according to the latest stats from Lodging Econometrics. Pipeline project counts are up a slight 2 percent while room counts show a 1 percent decrease year over year. This marks the seventh consecutive quarter of the total pipeline count exceeding 170,000 rooms.
The region has 344 hotels and 112,601 rooms currently under construction and 145 hotels with 33,031 rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months—the tenth quarter of exceeding 30,000 rooms. There are 136 hotels and 32,801 rooms in the early planning stage, up 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively, year over year.
New projects announced into the pipeline have slowed noticeably with only 27 hotels and 7,034 rooms announced in the third quarter, the lowest count since the third quarter of 2015.
LE forecasts that the Middle East is on track to open 93 new hotels with 22,247 rooms by the year’s end, surpassing the all-time high of 85 hotels with 20,047 rooms set in 2018. New records are also likely to be set in both 2020 and 2021 as LE’s forecast for new hotel openings climbs to 112 hotels with 35,216 rooms and 139 hotels with 36,609 rooms, respectively.
Saudi Arabia leads the region’s pipeline with a record high 218 projects and 73,599 rooms under construction, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 211 hotels and 60,452 rooms. Egypt is next with 57 hotels and 14,585 rooms and Qatar has 56 hotels and 13,587 rooms underway.
Continuing to dominate the construction pipeline in the UAE and throughout the region is Dubai with 168 hotels and 50,152 rooms. Other notable (but distantly following, LE noted) emirate countries are Abu Dhabi with 16 hotels and 3,938 rooms and Ras al Khaimah with 15 hotels and 4,351 rooms.
Cities with the largest hotel construction pipelines are Saudi Arabia’s Provincial region with 68 hotels and 13,809 rooms, Riyadh with an all-time high of 61 projects with 11,709 rooms, and Jeddah with 52 hotels and 11,226 rooms. Doha, Qatar, has 50 hotels and 11,466 rooms under construction and Saudi Arabia’s Makkah has 37 hotels and 36,855 rooms. Four of the Middle East cities with the largest pipelines are in Saudi Arabia and account for 48 percent of the rooms in the total pipeline.
Top Companies & Brands
Hilton is the top franchise company in the Middle East with the largest construction pipeline standing at 95 hotels and 25,664 rooms. Next is Marriott International with 93 hotels and 20,726 rooms. Accor follow with 92 hotels and 25,011 rooms. IHG recorded a new all-time high this quarter with 41 hotels and 15,066 rooms.
The leading pipeline brands for these franchise companies are Hilton’s DoubleTree with 28 hotels and 6,580 rooms, Hilton Hotel & Resort at 22 hotels and 6,959 rooms and Hilton Garden Inn at an all-time high with 21 hotels and 6,406 rooms; Marriott’s Courtyard with 21 hotels and 4,459 rooms and Residence Inn with 16 hotels and 1,877 rooms, both are at record highs; Accor’s Ibis brands standing at 15 hotels and 5,113 rooms and Novotel with 14 hotels and 4,596 rooms; and IHG’s Holiday Inn with a record 12 hotels and 3,548 rooms and the InterContinental Hotel brand with 8 hotels and 1,809 rooms.