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Sun 22 May 2011 07:02 PM

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4,500 hotel rooms added to Mideast, Africa pipeline in April

Latest STR Global data shows nearly 50% of rooms under development in four-, five-star category

4,500 hotel rooms added to Mideast, Africa pipeline in April

Nearly 4,500 extra hotel rooms were added to the Middle East and Africa construction pipeline in April, according to new data released by STR Global.

The region's development pipeline now comprises 443 hotels totalling 122,775 rooms, according to the April 2011 STR Global report.

This represents an additional 11 hotels being planned, with the total number of rooms under development jumping from 118,338 to 122,775.

STR Global said nearly 50 percent of rooms in the active pipeline were being planned in the four- and five-star hotel category.

Economy hotel rooms continued to make up the smallest portion of rooms in the total active pipeline with just two percent of the total but analysts says this is likely to change in the future.

Earlier this month, Jones Lang LaSalle predicted that a boom in high-quality low-cost hotels is set to revolutionise the Middle East’s hotel industry in the same way budget airlines have shaken up aviation.

The rapid growth of mid-range hotels in the region is set to mirror Europe’s budget hotel growth two decades years ago, with Saudi holy cities Makkah and Medina leading the way.

Nearly 40,000 extra hotel rooms are expected to be available to tourists visiting the Middle East and Africa region during 2011.

So far, 17 hotels offering more than 4,000 rooms have opened in the region, STR Global said in April.

Hotels in the region reported mixed performance in the first quarter of 2011.

Occupancy fell 7.8 percent to 56.8 percent, while average daily rates (ADR) were up 9.4 percent to $176.31, and revenue per available room (RevPAR) experienced a slight increase, rising 0.9 percent to $100.17.

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