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Global hotel pulse: Middle East/Africa news
April 24 2012

In this roundup of news from the MEA region: Hotel companies are bolstering development in the emirates; and Accor has halted projects in Bahrain and Syria.

Highlights
  • The region reported increases in occupancy, ADR and RevPAR during March, according to STR Global.
  • The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 497 hotels totaling 134,585 rooms, according to STR Global.
  • Accor’s Dubai RevPAR increased by 25% during the first quarter.

 

Each week, HotelNewsNow.com provides a news roundup from a different world region. Today’s roundup focuses on the Middle East/Africa region.

MEA pipeline
The Middle East/Africa
hotel development pipeline comprises 497 hotels totaling 134,585 rooms, according to the March 2012 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report.

In the Middle East/Africa region, 12 properties opened in the first quarter with 2,718 rooms. The region expects 134 more properties to open this year with 34,688 rooms. The upper -upscale segment is expected to open the most rooms in the remainder of 2012 with 27 properties and 8,448 rooms, followed by the unaffiliated segment (32 properties with 8,168 rooms) and the luxury segment (26 properties with 7,312 rooms).

STR Global is a sister company of HotelNewsNow.com.

MEA performance
The MEA region
reported positive increases in the three key hotel operating metrics during March, according to STR Global.

The region’s occupancy increased by 14.6% to 65.1%; average daily rate grew by 3.3% to $175.33; and revenue per available room jumped 18.4% to $114.07.

Emirates development 
Largely unaffected by political unrest elsewhere in the Middle East, hotel companies are strengthening their position in the United Arab Emirates.

The nation had an existing supply of 474 properties comprising 88,622 rooms as of March, according to data from STR Global. The UAE also has a total 19,583 rooms under construction, the most in the Middle East/Africa region as of March, according to STR Global.

Wyndham Hotel Group, for one, is operating eight properties in the UAE, six in Dubai, and two in Ajman. The properties consist of six Ramada-branded hotels and two under the Howard Johnson flag. “It’s definitely a region we’re focusing on,” CFO Robert Loewen said.

Accor halts Middle East projects
In other pipeline development news,
Accor has halted projects in Bahrain and Syria, according to a report in HotelierMiddleEast.com.

The company had been scheduled to open the 304-room Ibis Manama Seef in Bahrain and the 135-room Novotel Lattakia Marsa Shams Resort was scheduled for a 2013 opening, followed by the 129-room Ibis Aleppo Taj Halab and the 150-room Novotel Aleppo Taj Halab.

Work has been postponed on all those properties, the company said. “As soon as the situation in Bahrain and Syria stabilizes, the hotels will be resumed,” an Accor spokesperson said.

Accor Dubai Hotels Q1 revenue up 25%
Accor’s hotel operations are going better in other areas of the region, however. Bloomberg Businessweek reported that
demand at the company’s 14 Dubai hotels increased during the first quarter, with RevPAR growing by 25%.

“The business is back in Dubai,” Christophe Landais, Accor’s Middle East managing director, said. “We are seeing more demand on both leisure and business travel.” Occupancy rates averaged 78% in 2011, he said.

Hotels increasing Kenyan development
Five undisclosed global hotel brands have contracts to open hotels in Kenya, according to
allafrica.com.

"The five will all make further announcements at their own separate times when they are ready to officially launch their brands. But as we speak, in all the five cases construction is ongoing," Tourism Secretary Nelson Githinji said.

Kenya has been unable to bid for large international meetings because of constraints in bed capacity and lack of ideal conference facilities locally. As of the middle of 2011, total bed capacity in the country stood at approximately 60,000, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Deals and development

  • The $1-billion Real Madrid Resort Island development in the emirate Ras al-Khaimah is working to line up investors, according to an Associated Press report.
  • T.R. Engel Group LLC has entered into a strategic partnership with Dubai-based Beaufort Global Partners for the development of four hotels in Doha, Qatar. The development includes three 5-star hotels and resorts and a 4-star “plus” property.
  • Swiss-Belhotel International has announced plans to develop three Middle East properties, according to ameinfo.com: The 32-room Beach Bay Hotel by Swiss-Belhotel Muscat in Oman; the 95-room Swiss-Belexpress Muscat; and the Swiss-Belresort & Spa Sharma in Saudi Arabia, which will feature 27 apartments and 17 day-use cabins.
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts has opened two hotels in Beirut: the 183-room Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace and the 195-room Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand.
  • The 550-room Conrad Dubai is likely to open this summer, according to the Dubai Chronicle.
  • easyHotel Group is opening the 120-room easyHotel.com Rissik Street in Johannesburg later this year, according to ioltravel.com.  

Compiled by Shawn A. Turner.

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