Speaking exclusively to Hotelier, Christopher Lund, head of hospitality at Colliers International MENA, said that 2019 is expected to remain a challenging environment for hoteliers for the most part across Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Operators and owners are expected to remain cautious, and look to further enhance cost-saving measures in an effort to remain competitive.

Lund told Hotelier that the key challenge for hoteliers this coming year is maintaining profit margins in light of greater competition, and the growth of more price sensitive demand. “Some hoteliers are doing this very successfully by adopting tighter cost control measures made possible by clustering opportunities, streamlining food and beverage (often leasing to third parties), and out sourcing parts of their operations like housekeeping,” he said.

Looking further ahead, however, he pointed out that the medium- to long-term outlook is much more optimistic. “This is underpinned by the enormous governmental tourism initiatives which are currently in place across the region, such as in the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030,” he said.

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Lund also revealed that Egypt would be a market to watch since, he said, there are renewed efforts by the Egyptian Tourism Ministry to strongly market and diversity the offering, as well as targeting new source markets. “These efforts are already showing fruition, illustrated by the surge in tourism demand seen recently across the country,” he added.

Read the full Hotel Outlook article in the January issue of Hotelier Middle East.