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Global hotel pulse: Middle East/Africa news
March 6 2013

In this roundup of news from Middle East/Africa: The world’s tallest hotel opens in Dubai; MEA hotels notch positive performance results in January; and deals and development news from around the region.

  • Occupancy in the MEA region increased by 8.2% in January, while ADR increased by 1.3% and RevPAR grew by 9.6%.
  • The number of planned hotels in Africa is up 16% year over year.
  • The 72-story JW Marriott Marquis has opened in Dubai, making it the world’s tallest hotel. each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s compilation covers Middle East/Africa.

January MEA results
The Middle East/Africa region reported positive performance results in January 2013 when reported in U.S. dollars, according to data compiled by STR Global, sister company of

The region reported an 8.2% increase in occupancy to 59.8%, a 1.3% increase in average daily rate to $182.81 and a 9.6% increase in revenue per available room to $109.29.

January MEA pipeline
The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 480 hotels totaling 118,023 rooms, according to the January 2013 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report. The total active pipeline data includes projects in the in-construction, final planning and planning stages but does not include projects in the pre-planning stage.

Among the countries in the region, Oman reported the largest expected supply growth (+63.9%) if all 4,613 rooms in the country’s total active pipeline open. Five other countries reported expected room growth of more than 30%: Saudi Arabia (+53.2% with 27,783 rooms); Algeria (43.9% with 1,887 rooms); Qatar (+39.6% to 6,205 rooms); United Arab Emirates (+33.6% with 31,827 rooms); and Kuwait (+33.5% to 2,069 rooms).

Africa pipeline
The number of planned hotel rooms in Africa has increased by 16%, according to research from W Hospitality Group. The development pipeline grew by 9% in North Africa, while Sub-Saharan Africa saw growth of 23%.

“There is a boom in Africa, in all sectors, including hotels,” Trevor Ward, managing director of W Hospitality, said in a news release. “Economic growth in many countries is 6% or higher and global investors are looking at the continent in a much more serious and sophisticated way. We are being contacted by an increasing number of dedicated investment funds seeking to enter the African hotel market.”

Serengeti latest hotel development hot spot
The wide open spaces of the Serengeti are the latest battleground in hotel development.

Kempinski Hotels and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts are among the latest companies to put down stakes on safari-lodge developments in Africa. Kempinski in January announced the opening of its Olare Mara Kempinski, Masai Mara Tented Camp located in the Olare Orok Conservancy Masai Mara, Kenya. The camp can accommodate two dozen guests at one time.

Meantime, Four Seasons in December opened the 77-room Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Tanzania, in the Serengeti National Park.

Tallest hotel opens in Dubai
The 72-story JW Marriott Marquis Dubai opened in February, making the hotel the world’s tallest at 355 meters (1,164 feet.) It is also the first JW Marriott Marquis property outside North America.

“Dubai is an important destination for Marriott International as one of the world’s most exciting cities offering world-class facilities and infrastructure, central location in the region and future growth potential, “Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president and CEO, said in a news release. “Our expanding collection of world-class JW Marriott hotels offers accomplished travelers a one-of-a-kind luxury experience. The investment in this unique and visually stunning hotel is testament to the continued opportunities that lie ahead for the brand and company.”

Accor is bullish on Africa
Accor said it plans to open an additional 5,000 rooms on the African continent by 2016.

Sub-Saharan Africa will be a focal point for development, the company said. The company plans to open 35 hotels in the region by 2020. Accor already has 54 properties in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Overall, Accor has 116 hotels comprising 17,000 rooms in Africa.

Deals and development

  • Hilton Worldwide has announced the opening of the 259-room Hilton Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Hilton has also signed a management deal for a 158-room DoubleTree in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, which is scheduled to open in 2014.
  • The 141-room Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche has opened in Morocco.
  • Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels announced the opening six 5-star hotels in Doha, Qatar.
  • Accor has also announced a pair of scheduled openings for Doha in 2015: Pullman- and MGallery-branded properties, according to a report in The Peninsula.

Compiled by Shawn A. Turner.

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