Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

April 2020 | United Arab Emirates

Content Library

US$30 billion worth of hotels to be built in MENA by 2023

Posted on January 13, 2019

Dubai, UAE. 13 January, 2019. The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2019 has released the second annual AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast, which reveals that close to US$30 billion worth of hotel construction contracts will be awarded in the Middle East and North Africa between now and 2023.

According to the research, which was conducted by MEED Projects in Q4 2018, hotel development is most active in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, making these the markets to watch in 2019.

Ed James, Director of Content and Analysis at leading projects tracking service, MEED Projects, said: “More than 800 new hotels worth in excess of US$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.

“Leading the way in this tourism drive has been the UAE, with more than US$20 billion worth of hotel construction contracts awarded since 2012. This total is more than double the amount awarded in the second-highest country, Saudi Arabia, which saw just over US$10 billion worth of hotel deals awarded in the same timeframe,” said James.

According to the AHIC Hotel Investment Forecast, the levels of investment show no signs of slowing.

“Just under US$30 billion worth of hotels are due to be awarded in the region over the next five years,” revealed James. “The UAE again leads the way with almost US$11 billion worth of planned and un-awarded hotel projects, including The Address Harbour Point, MGM Resorts and Warner Bros hotels in Dubai, and Marriott Resort Ras al-Khaimah, to name but a few.”

He continued: “Egypt, which has a long-established tourism sector, is the second largest future market with just over US$4 billion worth of hotel projects. It is followed closely by Saudi Arabia at US$ 3.9 billion.”

Hotel investment prospects for the region will be discussed in depth at the 15th edition of AHIC, which will take place from 9-11 April 2019 at a new purpose-built AHIC Village in the grounds of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA).

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Founder of AHIC, said: “We’re excited to hear from our partner, MEED Projects, that the value of future hotel investments in the region is only going to get larger. That said, increased supply brings with it a unique set of challenges and AHIC provides the perfect forum to discuss and debate these. Under the theme ‘‘Synchronised for Success’, AHIC 2019 will include numerous conference and networking sessions that tackle how the industry can work together to capitalise on opportunities, overcome obstacles and maximise returns for the future.”

Worsley observed: “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.”

Ras Al Khaimah, where AHIC will be held for the second year, is one of the markets in the UAE with the most potential for more hotel development. The emirate is preparing to add 5,000 rooms, by the end of 2021, to the 6,500 currently available with the confirmed introduction of major global brands over the next three years.

Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA, revealed: “We have just launched Ras Al Khaimah’s new Destination Strategy 2019-2021, which will set out the vision and strategic framework for growing tourism in the years ahead. One of the main strategic objectives for 2019 will be to further increase the overall competitiveness of the tourism sector within the emirate, in order to accelerate local and foreign investment in an environment that sustains long-term growth as we aim to attract close to 1.5 million visitors by 2021”.

Mattar added: “There is huge potential in the emirate for entities looking to develop resorts, niche accommodation options and new tourism products, and this is reflected in the astonishing improvements in the infrastructure, facilities and developments taking place, all with the objective of increasing annual visitor arrivals. In addition, the government is actively encouraging private investment, and making those investments even more attractive, by adding incentives and putting massive resources behind tourism development”.

AHIC 2019 promises to provide more opportunity than ever for delegates to deepen existing relationships and forge new ones among the leaders of the hospitality investment community, with more than 800 hotel investors, major developers, leading financiers, and C-level hotel executives expected to attend three days of content, networking and events.

For more information about AHIC 2019, visit:

Contact: Lisa Flanagan, Senior Communications Consultant, In2 Consulting; Office: +971 4 455 8499; Mobile: +971 52 689 5509

Note to Editors


About AHIC 2019

AHIC, now in its 15th year, is the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community organised by global hotel investment event organiser Bench Events in partnership with Middle East business intelligence brand, MEED. AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders. AHIC 2019 will be held in a purpose-built AHIC Village on the beach adjacent to the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, from 9 April to 11 April 2019 in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, AHIC 2019 will be co-hosted by its founding patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, whose continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region’s tourism growth.

AHIC 2019 Sponsors

AHIC 2019 is hosted by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Sponsors include: Accor Hotels, Al Hokair Group, Al Marjan Island, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Radisson Hotel Group and The Red Sea Development Company as Platinum Sponsors; Emaar Hospitality Group, Dur Hospitality, (IHG) InterContinental Hotels Group, IWG (Insignia Worldwide Group) and Taiba Holding as Emerald Sponsors; and Alkamal International, Archipelago International, Barcelo hotel Group, Colliers International, Drees & Sommer, GlobalData, HVS, Knight Frank, Louvre Hotels Group, Marriott International, Melia Hotels International, PwC, SSH, STR, IHCL (The Indian Hotels Company Limited) and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts as Gold Sponsors. Citymax Hotels, Kerten Hospitality and Time Hotels are the Silver Sponsors. Edel & Stark is the Supercar Rental & Tours Partner while The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management and Hotelivate are Supporting Partners.

About Bench Events Bench Events ( has an established record of delivering high-level networking and thought leadership conferences for hospitality investment and aviation in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. ‘Creating an impact’ is the core focus of Bench Events, as the company enables growth by facilitating deal opportunities.


About MEED

MEED is a remarkable senior management media brand, that encompasses subscription to the MEED Business Review publication and website,, as well as organising the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, AHIC and Innovation Live! MEED also works with clients on bespoke content, events, broadcast and digital offerings.  MEED also has two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Insight. MEED Projects is the Middle East's premium project tracking database and MEED Insight offers tailored research and in-depth analysis. Established in 1957, MEED, has been integral to delivering business information and news, intelligence and analysis on the Middle East economies and activities ever since.


About Ras Al Khaimah

One of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations, Ras Al Khaimah boasts a rich culture and long-standing history dating back 7,000 years. The Emirate boasts an array of archaeological sites and breath-taking natural vistas, from golden sand beaches, awe-inspiring terracotta dunes and a green belt of date palms to Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE.

To learn more about Ras Al Khaimah, visit us at:


About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA)

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (TDA) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. In order to achieve target growth of one million visitors by the end of 2018, the authority aims to develop the Emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. In order to achieve its goals, the Ras Al Khaimah TDA has a government mandate to license, regulate and monitor the Emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.