Region to have 253 more hotels by 2012 - Emirates24|7

Region to have 253 more hotels by 2012

About 253 properties with 79,900 rooms will be added to the Middle East hotel sector by 2012 to meet the region's booming tourism sector, says a new report.

The investment in the hotels will amount to $16 billion (Dh58.76bn), according a study by London-based VHS International.

The UAE, with 40,400 rooms, will account for more than half of the total, followed by Qatar (7,900), Saudi Arabia (5,800), Egypt (5,100), Bahrain (4,400), Morocco (4,000), Oman (3,700), Jordan (3,300), Kuwait (3,000), Lebanon (1,500) and Syria (800). The hotels will be opened by 16 regional and international hotel groups.

In Dubai the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is working to meet growing demand that is expected to hit 10 million tourists a year by 2010 and 15 million by 2015. Dubai has 324 hotels and the figure will rise by 28 this year. A further 36 will be added in 2009 and 40 in 2010, raising the total to 428.

Ghassan Al Aridhi, executive director of Alfa Tours, said in Dubai alone 100 licences had been granted for new hotels which would add 20,000 rooms by 2012. The hotels would be built at a cost of up to Dh25bn.

DTCM figures shows that Dubai has 45 five-star hotels with 13,330 rooms, representing 40 per cent of the emirate's hotel rooms. It has 50 four-star hotels with 7,794 rooms (23 per cent) and 229 two and three-star hotels with 12,607 (37 per cent).

Tourism directly contributes 21 per cent to the emirate's GDP, represented by hotel returns, and indirectly by 31 per cent through sectors such as aviation and retail. Dubai hotels received 6.9 million tourists in 2007, compared to 6.4 million the previous year, and had direct returns of Dh13.2bn against Dh10.8bn in 2006.

Eyad Abdul Rahman, the DTCM's executive director of media relations, said Dubai would have 63,317 hotel rooms by 2010 and 93,867 by 2016.

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority is working to boost the number of hotels in line with its five-year plan, which aims to increase the number of tourists to 2.7 million by 2012, an increase of 11.1 per cent.

Chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan said the next few months would see the launch of four new hotels with 1,800 rooms. He said the ADTA's strategy for 2015, which aims to attract 3.5 million tourists, requires the addition of 17,000-20,000 new rooms.