GCC hospitality rebounds to pre-pandemic growth

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The GCC’s hotel and hospitality sectors are expected to fully recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022, thanks to increased levels of public and private sector investment and the success and popularity of major events including Expo 2020 Dubai and the forthcoming World Cup 2022 in Qatar, according to a new report from Alpen Capital.

The investment bank’s GCC Hospitality Industry Report for 2022 predicts the region’s hospitality sector will register 74.8% year-on-year growth this year, while revenues will top US$26.3 billion.

The firm expects the sector will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% up to 2026 to reach total revenues of US$34 billion.

In addition to the aforementioned mega events being staged in the region, Alpen Capital attributed the sector’s growth to regional governments actively supporting “the development of business, leisure, and entertainment centres through significant investments – the GCC is becoming a hub of action with a long list of events in the pipeline”.

“The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology and digitisation for operators looking to streamline procedures as well as improve the customer experience. The demand for mid-scale [and upscale] hotels [and] serviced apartments is also on the rise as [they] offer flexibility and affordability,” said Sameena Ahmad, managing director of Alpen Capital.

The report also noted that business confidence in the region had recovered faster than anticipated with the reopening of borders and easing of travel restrictions.

Dubai has spearheaded the UAE’s tourism and hospitality-led economic recovery in 2022, with the city welcoming 7.12 million international overnight visitors in the first half of the year, up an incredible 282 per cent year on year (YoY), according to Dubai Tourism data.

The city also posted an average hotel occupancy rate of 82% in the first quarter of this year, the highest globally for this period, according to data published by STR. The average revenue per available room (RevPAR) for the first quarter was also up 110% YoY to US$188.

As one of the UAE’s leading hotel developers, The First Group’s fast-growing portfolio of upscale hotels has also benefitted from the surge in visitor numbers and occupancies.

The firm recently celebrated the opening of The First Collection Business Bay, its new four-star lifestyle hotel in the heart of Dubai situated close to its major attractions. The hotel follows in the footsteps of The First Collection Jumeirah Village Circle, which was recently named one of the world’s hottest new hotels for 2022 by TripAdvisor.

Other exciting openings in the firm’s development pipeline include Ciel in Dubai Marina, which will claim the title of world’s tallest hotel when it opens in 2024, The One Hotel at Business Bay, The One at Jumeirah Village Triangle, Dolphin Tower in Business Bay and Avalon Tower in Jumeirah Village.

To discover more about the amazing investment opportunities available in Dubai’s booming hotel market, speak to The First Group today.

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