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Thu 1 Mar 2007 12:47 PM

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GCC retail space set to treble in a decade

Retail space in the GCC could treble to 15 million sq m by 2016, driven mainly by tourism and population growth, according to IIR Middle East, the organiser of Retail International, a leading retail exhibition and conference in Dubai.

Retail space in the GCC could treble to 15 million sq m by 2016, driven mainly by tourism and population growth, according to IIR Middle East, the organiser of Retail International, a leading retail exhibition and conference in Dubai.

There is currently about 5.3 million sq m of retail floor space in the region, worth about US $100 billion annually, according to a recent survey by Retail International. The four main cities driving this growth are Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Jeddah. Dubai remains at the core of retail development, hosting 1.3 million sq m, with Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Jeddah each having between 750,000 and 800,000 sq m.

This space is set to double in just a few years with a further 4.6 million sq m of gross leasable area (GLA) already under construction. For example, Dubai Festival City, Dubai Mall and Mall of Arabia will add some 1.2 million sq m alone. Elsewhere in the region, another 750,000 sq m will be added through developments in Doha at Le Villaggio and The Pearl-Qatar. Meanwhile, Mall of Kuwait is being developed in Kuwait, Al Shobily Grand Mall in is under development in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, and the new Bahrain City Centre project is being developed in Manama.

This growth is being driven by tourism, with the number of people visiting the region expected to reach 68 million by 2020, according to the World Tourism Organisation. Furthermore Dubai had five million visitors in 2005, and this figure is expected to climb to 15 million tourists by 2010. The population throughout the GCC countries is now estimated at 36 million and this is expected to increase to more than 50 million by 2015; Riyadh's population alone will treble to more than 15 million.

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