Fairmont The Palm was among the new hotel openings Fairmont The Palm was among the new hotel openings

The Middle East and Africa hotel industry opened 68 new hotels with 15,735 rooms in 2012, according to latest data released by STR Global.

Top-end hotels again dominated the new-builds in the region's tourism sector while economy hotels contributed only two properties, the figures showed.

The Upper Upscale segment added the most new rooms in 2012 with 3,600 rooms in 10 properties, followed by the Luxury segment (11 hotels with 3,508 rooms) and the Upscale segment (16 hotels with 3,467 rooms).

The Midscale segment reported the largest increase of new rooms added in 2012 compared with new rooms added in 2011, rising 79.5 percent with 10 hotels and 1,431 rooms.

The Economy segment reported the smallest number of new rooms in 2012 with 242 rooms in two properties.

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The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprised 478 hotels totalling 119,233 rooms, according to the December 2012 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report.

That was down on the previous month when the region had 480 hotels totalling 119,932 rooms in the pipeline.

Last month, STR Global said the UAE had the biggest number of hotel rooms under construction in the Middle East and Africa region.

Its November 2012 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report showed that the emirates had a total of 20,030 rooms being built, with Saudi Arabia second with 16,496.

The UAE is set to continue to dominate the STR Global after plans were revealed earlier this month to build 100 new hotels as part of the multi-billion dollar Mohammed Bin Rashid City project.