The growth of new hotel developments in prime GCC tourism destinations including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and the UAE, is outpacing the global average, according to new research commissioned by Arabian Travel Market.

Makkah and Doha are both expanding their hotel room inventory by 76 per cent, followed by Riyadh, Medina and Muscat with 66 per cent, 60 per cent and 59 per cent growth respectively, the research conducted at the end of 2021 by hotel market intelligence and global benchmarking company, STR, revealed.

In Dubai, rooms growth stands at 26 per cent, more than double the global average, which Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Exhibition Director Danielle Curtis said was “extraordinary”, considering its existing base and following years of continuous hotel development.

“With the global average sitting at 12% we are witnessing multiple GCC destinations growing at six times those rates,” she added.

According to the report, there are almost 2.5 million hotel rooms currently under contract around the world, and 3.2 per cent or 80,000 rooms of that supply is taking place in Saudi Arabia alone.

Furthermore, although Expo 2020 in Dubai is now drawing to a close (March 31), the mega event has been the catalyst for accelerated hotel room growth in the UAE with almost 50,000 rooms still due to open across the emirates.

Following closely behind is Doha with final preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022 now being put in place. Doha is on track to deliver 23,000 hotel rooms pre- and post-World Cup 2022, adding to the country’s burgeoning hotel property portfolio.

Curtis said the GCC’s hotel boom, coupled with the ongoing relaxation in travel restrictions, would most likely deliver a “substantial increase in the number of participants” at ATM, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 9 to 12.