According to the Q4 2022 Middle East Construction Pipeline Trend Report from Lodging Econometrics (LE), at the end of the quarter, LE analysts report that the hotel construction pipeline in the region stands at 549 projects/143,637 rooms. Hotel development in the Middle East is ramping up as investors begin to see opportunity in the region again. New project announcements (NPA) in the region continued to trend upward throughout 2022, closing the quarter at 67 projects/19,837 rooms and increasing 56% YOY. Additionally, the Middle East had a record number of new hotels open in the fourth quarter, closing out the year with 81 new hotels opened in 2022, accounting for 17,736 rooms.

At the close of the fourth quarter, projects presently under construction stand at 304 projects/86,440 rooms. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 103 projects/27,325 rooms, up 20% and 19% respectively, year-over-year (YOY). Projects in the early planning stage are at a record-high 142 projects/29,872 rooms, with a 15% increase in projects YOY and a 21% YOY increase by rooms.

Countries in the Middle East with the greatest number of projects in the construction pipeline at the Q4 close are Saudi Arabia with record-high project counts of 243 projects/67,618 rooms and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 104 projects/29,210 rooms. Egypt follows with record high project and room counts of 87 projects/21,672 rooms, then Dubai with 70 projects/21,790 rooms, and Qatar with 48 projects/11,589 rooms.

The top three cities in the Middle East, with the largest hotel construction pipelines at Q4, are located in Saudi Arabia. Provincial with 96 projects/23,182 rooms; Riyadh with record project and room counts of 73 projects/14,770 rooms; and Jeddah with 46 projects/10,179 rooms. These are followed by Doha, Qatar, with 42 projects/10,091 rooms, and Cairo, Egypt with 31 projects/6,638 rooms. In the Middle East, 52% of the projects and 45% of the rooms in the construction pipeline can be found within these five cities.

At 2022 year-end, Hilton has the most projects in the pipeline in the Middle East, with a record 99 projects/25,353 rooms. Next is Marriott International with 77 projects/22,884 rooms, Accor with 74 projects/19,553 rooms, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with record project and room counts of 63 projects/15,143 rooms, then Rotana Hotels, Inns & Suites with 17 projects/5,172 rooms.

The leading pipeline brands for these companies are Doubletree by Hilton with 28 projects/6,693 rooms and Hilton’s Garden Inn brand with 18 projects/5,826 rooms; Marriott’s Courtyard brand with 14 projects/3,735 rooms and Marriott Hotel with 7 projects/2,445 rooms; IHG’s InterContinental brand with record-high project counts of 15 projects/3,920 rooms and Hotel Indigo with 12 projects/2,552 rooms; Accor’s Novotel with 10 projects/2,528 rooms and Movenpick with 9 projects/2,181 rooms; Rotana Hotels, Inns & Suites’ Rotana brand with 6 projects/1,919 rooms and Rayhaan with Hotel & Resort 5 projects/1,358 rooms.

In Q4 2022, 33 new hotels, accounting for 6,452 rooms, opened in the Middle East. The LE forecast for new hotel openings continues to rise with 123 new hotels/30,113 rooms expected to open in 2023 and 116 new hotels/29,085 rooms forecasted to open in 2024.