Audience at the Arabian Hotel Investors Summit in 2016. Audience at the Arabian Hotel Investors Summit in 2016.

Hotel investors, owners, consultants and operators alike share a positive outlook for the Middle East hospitality industry in 2017, with strong market fundamentals in place and attractive investment opportunities on the horizon, organisers of the 13th Arabian Hotel Investment Conference claimed.

AHIC 2017 will be held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai from April 25-27, 2017.

AHIC founder and chairman of Bench events Jonathan Worsley said: “With AHIC 2017 just months away, the debate is already beginning among our speakers. As usual, we expect AHIC to be thought-provoking, topical and at the forefront of promoting hospitality investment in the Middle East and beyond.

Worsley who is also one of the board directors at STR added: “From discussing global catalysts for change and the macroeconomic outlook to asset management and outbound investment, AHIC 2017 promises to present the latest market intelligence and inspire the investment community, globally as well as locally.”

The experts acknowledged that while aspects of both development and operations were challenging in 2016, the market remains robust with investment potential.

HotelServices Middle-East and Africa chief operating officer Olivier Granet said: “Despite the oil price, the spotlight on elections globally and otherwise volatile regional conditions, our key partners in the region still identify in present market conditions attractive opportunities to invest. Investors may be cautious with their real estate investments in light of RevPAR contractions across certain markets in the region, however, many markets in the region are just beginning to mature and still represent attractive investments across many asset classes.”

Katara Hospitality CEO Hamad Abdulla Al-Mulla said: “2016 will be remembered as a challenging year for hospitality investors as a mix of global geopolitical and economic issues has resulted in a more cautious approach towards investment decisions.”

He added: “The Middle East hotel market remains a vibrant and exciting one for investors. The region’s fundamentals are strong, making it an attractive investment destination. In Qatar for example, the outlook for the hotel industry is especially promising. According to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, in 2015, income from tourists amounted to QAR18.3 billion, nine-times the QAR2.1 billion recorded in 2010, demonstrating the clear opportunity for proven investors like Katara Hospitality in the region.”

Another markets viewed as being particularly robust is Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), which reported a 14% YoY increase in RevPar between June and August 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, and an increase of 15.9% in occupancy during the same period, according to Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.

Hotel owners and developers in RAK remain bullish for the year ahead, bolstered by the emirate’s attractive investment environment, a topic that will be discussed in depth at AHIC 2017.


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