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Global hotel pulse: Middle East/Africa news
February 22 2011 each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s review covers the Middle East/Africa region.

  • The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 430 hotels totaling 117,300 rooms, according to STR Global.
  • Hotels in Cairo make guest safety No. 1 priority.
  • The Meliá Dubai is the first Spanish-run hotel in the Middle East. each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s review covers the Middle East/Africa region.

STR: MEA results
The Middle East/Africa region reported increases in all three key performance measurements during January 2011 when reported in U.S. dollars, according to data compiled by STR Global.

The region’s occupancy ended the month with a 6.2-percent increase to 57.5%, average daily rate rose 4.6% to US$172.26, and revenue per available room went up 11.2% to US$99.02.

• Read “STR Global: MEA results for January.”

STR: MEA pipeline
The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 430 hotels totaling 117,300 rooms, according to the January 2011 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report.

Among the countries in the region, Oman will report the largest increase in existing supply (+74.4 percent) if every one of the 4,369 additional rooms in its total active pipeline open. Other countries to expect significant increases in existing supply include: Bahrain (65.1 percent with 3,665 rooms in its total active pipeline); Qatar (65 percent with 5,204 rooms); United Arab Emirates (57.3 percent with 48,005 rooms); and Kuwait (50.1 percent with 3,038 rooms).

Guest safety is priority No. 1 for Cairo hotels
The Middle East has been the sight of large-scale, anti-government protests during recent weeks. While such protests were ongoing in Cairo, hoteliers there worked to ensure guest safety.

Hilton Worldwide was one of the companies to issue a statement providing a status update during the unrest:

“The well-being, safety and security of our guests and team members are of paramount importance and our hotels across Egypt are making every effort to ensure we deliver the highest level of security. We have implemented additional security procedures at all our hotels across Egypt, particularly Cairo, and our teams are working around the clock to take care of our guests, including those who have had to extend their stay due to flight disruptions. Hotels in the resort areas have been less impacted and are able to largely operate business as usual.”

Political turmoil hurting Starwood
Meanwhile, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s CFO Vasant Prabhu said the Egyptian protests are taking a toll on the company, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

“The political turmoil in North Africa, especially Egypt, is of course hurting our business,” he said, adding, “We expect that our fees will be hit in North Africa. It is too early to tell how we will be impacted, but this is clearly a risk that needs to be closely monitored.”

Starwood has 16 hotels in North Africa that generated between US$10 million to US$12 million in fees a year ago.

Accor adding properties in Africa
France-based Accor is planning to add 18 hotels across the Middle East by 2014, according to Reuters.

Accor Middle East expects to open 11 properties in the United Arab Emirates, three in Syria, two in Bahrain and two in Saudi Arabia.

Oman to spend US$8b building hotels
The government of Oman will spend US$8 billion building at least a half-dozen hotels across the country and the country’s biggest conference center, according to a Bloomberg report.

The first stage of construction will be completed by 2013 and will include a hotel managed by InterContinental Hotels Group. Another hotel, The Fort, a 120-room property designed to look like an ancient desert fort, will start this year.

Openings and development …

  • Riu Hotels & Resorts is planning three new Moroccan openings this year: two in the Atlantic coastal city of Agadir and the recently remodeled Riu Tikida Garden in Marrakesh, for a total of six hotels in the North African nation.
  • Starwood has signed a management agreement to manage its first hotel, the Sheraton Sharjah in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The hotel will open in 2013.
  • Sol Meliá’s Meliá Dubai is planned for early next year and will be the first hotel run by a Spanish group in the Middle East.
  • Morgans Hotel Group has announced a management agreement for a Mondrian hotel in Doha, Qatar, that is expected to open in early 2013.
  • The 54-room Liwa Executive Suites opened in downtown Abu Dhabi, according to a report in Hotelier Middle East.
  • Rezidor Hotel Group will open five Radisson Blus and three Park Inns in Africa by the end of 2011, according to a report in Southall Travel.

Compiled by Shawn A. Turner.

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