Each week, HotelNewsNow.com provides a news roundup from a different world region. Today’s roundup focuses on the Middle East/Africa region.
The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 498 hotels totaling 134,893 rooms, according to the February 2012 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report. STR Global is a sister company of HotelNewsNow.com.
Among the markets in the region, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, reported the largest expected room growth (+79.4%) if all 5,645 rooms in the market’s total active pipeline open. Five other markets are expected to grow more than 25% if all rooms in their active pipelines open: Abu Dhabi (+64% with 11,133 rooms); Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (+60.7% with 3,587 rooms); Muscat, Oman (+49.4% with 2,104 rooms); Dubai (+45.3% with 26,643 rooms); and Amman, Jordan (+27.4% with 1,797 rooms).
The Middle East/Africa region reported mostly positive performance results in February 2012 when reported in U.S. dollars, according to data compiled by STR Global.
During February 2012, the region’s occupancy jumped 13.3% to 62.6%, its average daily rate decreased 6.8% to $172.01 and its revenue per available room was up 5.6% increase to $107.74.
“One year on from the Arab Spring, we are seeing positive RevPAR growth on lower base values for Northern Africa, as can be seen in Cairo, which reported 96% RevPAR recovery to EGP266 ($44.08),” Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global, said in a news release. “We saw occupancy pick up in markets which saw various levels of political protest last year, such as Amman, Beirut and Cairo, whilst performance continued to be impacted in Manama”.
Al Faisal doubling hotel investment
Qatar’s Al Faisal Holding Company LLC plans to double its investment in the hotel industry, according to a report in Arabian Business.
The company a year ago spent $309 million in buying the W Hotel in London. “One of the specialties of this company is that we have a hospitality division and Qatar needs hotels,” Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Al Faisal, chairman of the Al Faisal Holding Company, said.
“Where there is demand we are interested in potential opportunities. We are looking for investment opportunities in many countries … Egypt and Algeria we have big plans for. In Asia, we are interested in China,” he added.
Dubai goes green
Emirates news agency WAM reports that the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has seen an increase in hotels participating in the emirate’s green initiative.
The effort is focused on helping properties reduce electricity and water consumption while presenting the properties as environmentally-friendly to the rest of the world. The number of hotels participating in the program last year totaled 104, up from 70 two years earlier.
Hotels want Africa presence
Hotel chains are moving for a foothold in Africa, according to a Reuters report.
Africa is becoming the next frontier, perhaps the last frontier," Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam said at the ITB travel fair in Berlin, saying its planes were full of Chinese investors.
Marriott International, for one, is opening hotels in Kigali, Rwanda, and Accra, Ghana. The company has a goal of doubling its hotels in Africa and the Middle East to 100 during the next five years.
Middle East economy hotels needed
There is a need for more economy hotels in the Middle East, according to an ArabianBusiness.com report.
Hotel developers in the Middle East have focused on luxury because that’s where the money is, said Gavin Samson of Christie & Company.
“The Middle East cannot afford to be as picky and choosy as it once was. You have to factor in everybody, therefore you need budget and mid-level,” Samson added.
Deals and development
• Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts announced it secured management contracts for three Egyptian properties: the 252-room Mövenpick Resort Hurghada; the 298-room Mövenpick Resort Sharm El Sheikh; and the Mövenpick Abu Soma, which is scheduled to open this year.
• Ethiopia Airlines is planning a 4-star hotel near Bole International Airport, according to a ethiosports.com report.
• InterContinental Hotels Group, in partnership with Rayadah Investment Company, is opening two properties in Saudi Arabia: the 225-room Hotel Indigo Riyadh KAFD and the 218-room InterContinental Riyadh KAFD.
• Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is scheduled to open its first Middle Eastern hotel in June, the 222-room Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara in Abu Dhabi.
• Rezidor Hotel Group is now managing the Okoume Palace Hotel in Libreville, Gabon. The hotel will be unbranded for a certain period during renovation and then will be dual-branded as a 330-room Radisson Blu and 140-room Park Inn by Radisson.
Compiled by Shawn A. Turner.