Construction contracts in the MENA region continue to be awarded. Construction contracts in the MENA region continue to be awarded.

Hotel construction in the Middle East and North Africa continues with close to US$30bn worth of contracts set to be awarded in the region between now and 2023.

The research conducted by MEED Projects in Q4 2018, revealed in the second annual Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) Hotel Investment Forecast, also highlighted that hotel development is most active in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

In an official statement, MEED Projects director of content and analysis Ed James said: "More than 800 new hotels worth in excess of $44 billion have been built over the past seven years in the Middle East and North Africa, as the region benefits from increased visitor numbers, new world-class tourist attractions and investment in transport infrastructure."

He added that UAE was leading the way with more than $20bn-worth of hotel construction contracts awarded since 2012. The second in the list was Saudi Arabia, which saw just over $10bn-worth of hotel deals awarded in the same timeframe.

The investment continues, the report revealed, and with just under $30bn contracts due to be awarded, the UAE still has pole position with almost $11bn-worth of planned and un-awarded hotel projects. These included, James said, projects such as The Address Harbour Point, MGM Resorts and Warner Bros hotels in Dubai, and Marriott Resort Ras Al Khaimah.

Egypt is the second largest future market, added James, with just over $4bn-worth of hotel projects, followed by Saudi Arabia at $3.9bn.

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Hotel investment prospects for the region will be discussed at the 15th edition of AHIC, and Bench Events chairman and AHIC founder Jonathan Worsley said: "Tourism has boomed in the MENA region as a result of governments’ commitments to diversifying their economies. Relaxed visa regulations, enhanced marketing, and investment in key attractions and events, such as Louvre Abu Dhabi, Dubai Parks and Resorts, and the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, have helped drive a record numbers of tourists to the region.

"Saudi Arabia has made tourism a centerpiece of its 2030 Vision with the multi-billion-dollar Neom and Red Sea mega-developments. At the same time, investment in new hotels and renovations of older properties has helped propel the Middle East into one of the world’s fastest growing tourism hotspots."

AHIC is set to take place at a purpose-built AHIC Village on the grounds of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), from April 9-11, 2019.