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Hotels throughout the Middle East recorded a world-beating 21 per cent growth in revenue per available room (revPAR) last year, contributing to buoyant market confidence as some investors and owners enjoy a return on investment (ROI) in just five years, according to a recent Deloitte survey. The result, double that of Asia and five times that of Europe is in turn attracting global interest from key industry suppliers and The Hotel Show, the Middle East's leading supplies exhibition is witnessing strong demand in line with the robust regional market conditions.

Maggie Moore, Exhibition Director, The Hotel Show, commented, “We have experienced consistent year-on-year growth, parallel to the pace of regional hotel development. With such attractive returns, investor confidence is now stimulating the regional surge in hotel development and hospitality suppliers from across the globe are now following that trend.”

For a number of years, less than optimistic industry analysts had feared that the Dubai market in particular could not sustain such dramatic growth but with occupancy levels at 85 per cent and average rates showing an increase last year of over 23 per cent, the pessimists have been confounded.

In terms of revPAR it was Qatar who led the region with an astonishing 62 per cent increase the highest in the world, Oman came third on 54 per cent and Abu Dhabi and Riyadh both featured in the global top ten.

The dramatic transformation of the airline industry in the Middle East has been responsible for fuelling existing growth and will be integral to underpinning its future. In terms of passenger traffic it is now rated as the fastest growing region in the world with a 10 per cent increase last year. Official statistics put international arrivals figures for the Middle East, at 38.4 million last year, which highlighted a three-fold increase from 13.5 million in 1995 with Dubai as the destination for around 45 per cent of those travellers.

Emirates, who is estimating it will carry 33 million passengers by 2012, along with Qatar Airways and Etihad, will between them take delivery of up to 260 new aircraft by 2015. New terminals in Doha and Dubai are nearing completion and the new Dubai World Central Airport, which was launched last year, once completed, is set to eclipse London’s Heathrow and Chicago’s O’Hare airports together in terms of size and passenger capacity.

The region is now also setting the trends that other cities and resorts around the world are looking to follow. Armani, Missoni and Versace, more renowned on catwalks than in hotels are all committed to projects in the region. Raffles (pyramid) Trump (tulip), an underwater hotel, a mock Taj Mahal, hotels in ships, a hotel made of ice and one under sand dunes will all become industry icons reminiscent of a ‘new’ Las Vegas.

“This level of regional hotel development and investor confidence represents a unique opportunity for every type of supplier to the industry for the foreseeable future,” stated Moore.

The Hotel Show, organised by dmg world media Dubai Ltd, one of the region’s leading exhibition companies, is due to take place from June 4-6 2006, at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre and will showcase the very latest equipment, technology and service innovations for the hospitality industry.
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