Hotel demand across the majority of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets is expected to achieve parity with 2019 levels of performance in 2022, according to the latest industry forecast from Colliers International, commissioned by RX (Reed Exhibitions), the organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022.

Corporate travel and regional mega events will help deliver year-on-year upticks across most MENA markets, with hotel occupancies of 70 per cent plus forecast in Dubai (Dubai Creek and Festival City: 76 per cent; Sheikh Zayed Road: 74 per cent; Palm Jumeirah: 78 per cent and Dubai Marina and JBR: 80% per cent, as well as Ras Al Khaimah, Cairo and Alexandria (all 70 per cent) and Doha (72 per cent).

Corporate demand, including meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE), are bolstering the MENA hotel industry’s initial post-pandemic recovery, according to the Colliers report, but the region’s domestic and leisure segments are likely to take on an increasingly important role in 2022 amid ongoing changes in operational practices for global business travel.

In addition, the researchers predict that mega events such as Expo 2020 Dubai and FIFA World Cup Qatar 202 will not only drive a major influx in demand for their hosts, with the UAE’s hotel sector predicted to witness a 12 per cent year-on-year uptick in 2022 and Doha likely to exceed 2019 levels of hotel demand both this year and next but are also likely to deliver a beneficial ‘halo effect’ for surrounding markets.

The Colliers research notes that consistent government backing for tourism and travel throughout the pandemic has been – and will continue to represent – a key factor in the sector’s recovery. Domestic-focused initiatives, which supported regional hotels during heightened travel restrictions, are expected to result in ongoing improvements for markets such as Ras Al Khaimah, UAE and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

These topics and many more will be discussed at next year’s ATM Hotel Industry Summit, which will take place during ATM at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from May 8-11, 2022.