Included in this roundup of news from the MEA region: Hajj travel; August performance and pipeline; more travel ban changes; and more.
Each week, Hotel News Now features a news roundup from a different global region. Today’s compilation focuses on Middle East/Africa.
Millions travel for Hajj
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information announced earlier in the month that 2.35 million Muslims traveled to Mecca for the annual religious pilgrimage of Hajj, according to a news release.
The event drove roughly 1.75 travelers from outside of Saudi Arabia to Mecca, including 1 million from Asia.
While Saudi officials touted their efforts to be opening and welcoming, some news outlets (including CBS News) pointed out political tensions with some neighboring nations complicate matters.
August MEA performance data
Rate drove a revenue increase in the Middle East while Africa saw across-the-board increases in key performance indicators in August, according to the latest data from HNN’s parent company STR.
Middle Eastern hoteliers saw occupancy fall 3.9% to 61.2%, but average daily rate jumped 7.4% to $151.04, pushing revenue per available room up 3.2% to $93.84.
Kurdistan independence push could impact oil
A referendum for independence in Iraqi Kurdistan could have impacts on the oil markets, according to The Wall Street Journal, as Iraqi officials call for boycotts of Kurdish crude oil and Turkey plans to stymie oil exports from the region.
The threats from Turkey could be particularly impactful, as the newspaper points out “more than half the region’s production is exported through a Turkish pipeline.”
White House unveils updated travel restrictions
President Donald Trump has announced an updated version of his travel restrictions that White House officials hope will be better suited to stand up to legal scrutiny and adds North Korea and Venezuela to the list of countries covered, according to Bloomberg.
The other countries covered include Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
August MEA pipeline numbers
The Middle East saw a jump in hotels under construction, while Africa saw a modest decrease, according to data from STR.
The Middle East saw 98,027 rooms in 309 projects in construction in August, which marks a 17.2% year-over-year increase. For the month, Africa saw 28,260 rooms under construction in 160 projects, a drop of 5.6%.
Deals and development
- The 252-room Radisson Red Cape Town opened in the Silo District of Cape Town, South Africa.
- The 243-room Orient Jerusalem opened in Jerusalem, Israel, as part of Isrotel’s Exclusive Collection.
- Hilton announced an agreement with Distinguished Real Estate Arrows Company for the 155-room Hilton Garden Inn Jeddah Hamad al Jaser Street in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The hotel will open in 2021.
- Hilton signed an agreement with Tilal Properties for a 200-room DoubleTree by Hilton property in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, which will open in 2020.
- The 90-room Mena Plaza Albarsha Dubai opened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- Hilton and TAFBB Business PLC reached an agreement for the 106-room DoubleTree by Hilton Addis Ababa, which will be built near the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia’s capital.
Compiled by Sean McCracken.