A market forecast study conducted by the Colliers hospitality team earlier this year shows clear signs of recovery for the Middle East’s hospitality market.

For those of us living in the UAE, it is not surprising to see that the Emirates continues to lead the Middle Eastern hospitality market recovery story. Expo 2020 and the easing of travel restrictions were effective catalysts in driving tourists back to the UAE and particularly to Dubai, where we are witnessing a return to almost pre-pandemic occupancy levels. Similarly, we are seeing a promising recovery in Saudi Arabia, especially in Jeddah and the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah, as the Saudi authorities continue to ease restrictions for religious tourists.

Pandemic restrictions resulted in what is probably the most challenging time in the hospitality industry’s recent history. They have also resulted in long-term changes to guests’ expectations and preferences. While guests continue to value the luxury facilities that the region has typically offered, we are witnessing further emphasis on wellness, the ability to experience authentic local cultures, and flexible cancellation terms.

The Middle East’s hospitality sector is also expanding as the region advertises itself to new source markets. This has caused owners and operators to invest more in developing midscale properties, branded accommodation, and design-led lifestyle facilities that provide visitors with unique experiences.

With more high profile events coming to the region, such as the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha, COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, and COP28 in Dubai, we expect to see the regional hospitality market continue to thrive, which is refreshing after the past months.

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