HotelNewsNow.com each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s review covers the Middle East/Africa region.
Mixed performance results in MEA
The Middle East/Africa region reported mixed performance results during May 2011 when reported in U.S. dollars, according to data compiled by STR Global.
The region ended the month with a 12.5% decrease in occupancy to 53.7%, average daily rate rose 8.5% to US$151.96, and revenue per available room ended the month with a 5.1% decrease to US$81.53.
“The political changes and demonstrations across parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East continue to influence hotel performances,” said Elizabeth Randall, managing director at STR Global. “The MENA markets reporting positive occupancy and average room rate increases for May are Jeddah, Makah, Medina, Riyadh and Dubai. Despite new supply still entering the Dubai market, May was the second consecutive month of moderate average rate increases since mid-2008.”
• Read “STR Global: MEA results for May 2011.”
STR Global: MEA pipeline numbers
The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 474 hotels totaling 128,344 rooms, according to the May 2011 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report. STR Global is a sister company of HotelNewsNow.com.
Among the countries in the region, Qatar shows the largest expected room growth (84.4%) if all 7,002 rooms in the total active pipeline open. Other countries with large expected room growth include: Oman (67.7% growth with 4,211 rooms in the total active pipeline); United Arab Emirates (59.5% with 50,908 rooms); Bahrain (55.3% with 3,557 rooms); and Algeria (51.6% with 1,744 rooms).
• Read “STR Global: MEA pipeline for May.”
Fatal hotel attack in Kabul
Suicide attackers late last month were able to penetrate the security of a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, and 10 Afghan civilians were killed, according to a report in The New York Times.
A four-hour standoff with heavily armed Taliban fighters on the rooftop of the Hotel Inter-Continental Kabul ended with 10 Afghan civilians—mostly hotel workers—dead. Hours later, a lone suicide bomber who had been injured in the attack blew himself up in one of the rooms, the report said.
• Read “Kabul hotel attack leaves 10 dead.”
Abu Dhabi tourism, revenue up
Year-to-date through May, Abu Dhabi tourism is up 10% while hotel revenue is up 6%, according to a Reuters report.
The United Arab Emirates has avoided the political upheaval occurring in other parts of the Middle East. Hotels in the capital of the UAE had 866,501 guests in the first five months of 2011, staying a total 2.6 million guest nights, according to the Abu Dhabi Tousism Authority.
Also, hotel revenue rose to 1.9 billion dirhams (US$517.27 million).
Protea hotels acquiring distressed hotels
Protea Hotels has started a fund dedicated to the acquisition of distressed hotel companies, Independent Online reports, citing a Business Day story.
The “multi-billion rand” fund is looking for hotels in South Africa.
“There are opportunities in South Africa. We have been looking at a couple of properties. There are a number of hotels that are under stress,” CEO Arthur Gillis said.
Kempinski ends management of Tanzanian hotels
Kempinski Hotels will end its management of two luxury hotels in Tanzania at the end of the month, eturbonews.com reports.
Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski in the central business district of Tanzania's capital city of Dar es Salaam and Bilila Lodge Kempinski in Tanzania's leading wildlife park of the Serengeti will cease to be managed by Kempinski by the end of this month.
Nairobi catches hotel developers’ interest
Nairobi, Kenya, is seeing an uptick in hotel development interest, according to a report in The East African.
At least 10 local hotels are under construction in Nairobi with investors hoping to cash in on the growing demand for accommodation and conference facilities as the government fumbled on its plan to sell 11 hotels to private investors. A spot-check by The East African shows at least 2,500 new rooms will be created in the next year in Nairobi alone.
Among the developers:
• Rezidor Hotel Group is setting up a 126-room property in Westlands, Nairobi, to be complete by 2012.
• The Korean HwanSung Group is planning a 150-room HwanSung Hotel near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
• Malezi Group is building a 70-room, 4-star hotel for US$12.2 million.
Starwood hiring spree
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is planning to hire 10,000 workers to staff 25 properties coming online by 2016, according to Arabian Business.
The company is hiring for wait staff, kitchen porters, chefs, managers, security and other positions.
• Golden Tulip Hospitality Group has signed a management contract with Dana Bay Tourism for the new Golden Tulip Dana Bay—Half Moon hotel, which has 251 beachside villas.
• Starwood is opening two hotels in Medina, Saudi Arabia during the fourth quarter of 2012: the 297-room Sheraton Medina Hotel and the 178-room Four Points by Sheraton Medina.
• Hilton Worldwide is planning 30 new hotels in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah by the end of 2012, according to Emirates247.com.
• Marriott International signed a deal with Empire Iraq to manage the 200-room Erbil Marriott and the 75-room Marriott Executive Apartments Erbil in Iraq. Both properties are planned to open in 2014.
• Rezidor is managing two new properties in the UAE: the 375-room Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai and the 257-room Radisson Blu Resort, Fujairah Dibba.
• Ritz-Carlton is managing the 250-room Al Bustan Palace in Muscat, Oman.
• Rotana Hotel Management Corporation and Air Arabia have opened the budget hotel Centro Sharjah, according to the Khaleej Times Online.
Compiled by Shawn A. Turner.