EY: Government-led initiatives to drive MENA hospitality market in 2018
Dubai, UAE - 28 March 2018
The hospitality market across the MENA region witnessed marginal growth in 2017, according to the latest Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey Report from EY. Except for Egypt and Kuwait, the region’s hospitality markets witnessed a decrease in RevPAR due to factors such as increased supply, regulatory changes and ongoing reforms in the macro-economic environment.
Top MENA hospitality performers
During 2017, the Dubai market registered the highest RevPAR of US$189, followed by Jeddah, which registered a RevPAR of US$170. Dubai also had the highest occupancy rate in 2017 at 77.7% with Abu Dhabi following closely at 77.1%. The highest room rates of the year were recorded in Saudi Arabia, with an average daily rate of US$300 in Makkah and Jeddah averaging at US$266. Cairo’s hospitality market experienced a growth across all KPIs in 2017, resulting in the highest increase in room yield compared to 2016 and a RevPAR of 77.7%, due to continued political stability in the country.
The Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey Report, produced by EY, provides a monthly and year-to-date performance overview of leading hotels in the Middle East. The hotel set includes international branded and operated properties across the five-star and four-star segments.
In the United Arab Emirates, the hospitality market experienced a dip in RevPAR performance in 2017 compared to 2016, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi experiencing a drop of 6.2% and 2.6% respectively. Ras Al Khaimah however, witnessed an increase of 1.9% compared to 2016.
Abu Dhabi saw an increase in occupancy to 77.1% in 2017, a 2.2% points increase compared to 74.9% in 2016, which may be attributed to events such as the Abu Dhabi Food Festival and the New Year’s Countdown Village. However, the average room rate experienced a decrease by 5.3% from US$127 in 2016 to US$120 in 2017.
In the Dubai hospitality market, there was a decline in occupancy to 77.7%, a 1.4% points drop from 79.1% in 2016. There was also a decrease in average room rates by 4.4% from US$255 in 2016 to US$243 in 2017. The decline in KPIs may be attributed to the additional supply of hotel rooms in the market.
Ras Al Khaimah witnessed an increase in occupancy by 2.5% compared to 2016. However, the average room rates decreased by 1.5% to US$158 in 2017, from US$160 in 2016.
Yousef Wahbah, MENA Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction Sector Leader, says: “The MENA hospitality sector may have seen marginal growth in 2017, but the announcement of several new hotels, government initiatives and the development of several mega projects will help drive tourism in 2018.
“In the UAE, the growth in hospitality supply will be sustained by an increase in occupancy through demand from existing markets and new source markets. Government initiatives such as the expansion of the visa on arrival status to Russian, Chinese, and Indian citizens will help increase visitor numbers and support the diverse hospitality offerings coming to market not only in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah as well.
“In Saudi Arabia, government initiatives have paved the way for increased leisure tourism from both international and domestic markets. Recent announcements from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) include entertainment venues, theme parks, and large-scale hospitality and leisure destinations that will eventually rival leading resort destinations around the world. In the short term, hospitality demand will be boosted by corporate travelers, tasked with helping deliver some of these mega developments throughout the Kingdom.
“Other countries in the MENA region, such as Bahrain and Egypt, have government-led initiatives to drive tourism in their markets. Bahrain aims to strengthen the development of two-way tourism between GCC countries. Egypt, which saw an increase across all KPIs last year, will benefit from the opening of two airports and continued government efforts to improve bilateral relations.”
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