By Andy Sambidge
Almost half of the region's new hotel projects currently in the UAE - STR Global.
More than 120,000 new hotel rooms are in the Middle East/North Africa construction pipeline, according to the latest report by industry research firm STR Global.
Its September Construction Pipeline Report said 442 hotels comprising 120,589 rooms were in the development stage in the MENA region.
The UAE reported 57,126 rooms in the total active pipeline, the largest amount of any country in the region.
Saudi Arabia also accounted for a large portion with 10,986 rooms while two other countries reported more than 5,000 rooms in the total active pipeline: Morocco (5,924) and Qatar (5,408).
The luxury sector accounted for 24.6 percent (29,646 rooms while the Upscale segment reported 25,940 rooms for 21.5 percent of the total active pipeline.
The Midscale without food and beverage segment accounted for the smallest portion of the total active pipeline - just 1.3 percent or 1,558 rooms.
Earlier this month, a leading regional hospitality figure said Dubai's hotel room inventory was expected to reach 54,000 in 2010, a massive 40 percent increase on figures for 2008.
Sami Al Ansari, CEO of Ishraq Gulf Estate Holding, said the huge increase in the number of rooms available presented the next challenge for the hotels sector, which had struggling this year amid the global economic slowdown.
Ansari, who is a member of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC)'s Advisory Board, said: “2009 has been extremely challenging for the hospitality industry in Dubai, the drop in demand for hotel rooms as a result of the recession coupled with a huge increase of 17 percent in rooms inventory drove occupancy down by 15 percent and revenue per available room by 35 percent so far this year as compared to 2008.”