By Andy Sambidge
Latest stats also show that luxury sector still dominates hotels under construction.
A total of 442 hotels and 120,440 rooms are currently in the Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline, according to the latest statistics published by STR Global.
The December 2009 figures also showed an increase of 84,000 hotel rooms available for tourists in the region, compared to October, as more hotel projects were completed.
At the end of December there were a total of 718,702 hotel rooms in the region, compared to 634,226 two months previously, with another 71,742 in the construction phase, STR Global said.
Among the key markets in the region, Dubai reported the largest amount of rooms in the total active pipeline last month with 29,727 rooms.
The Dubai hospitality market also ended 2009 with the largest number of rooms in the In Construction phase with 15,291 rooms.
Abu Dhabi followed with 13,701 rooms in the total active pipeline and 6,939 rooms in the In Construction phase.
The top end of the market continued to dominate hotel plans in the region with luxury, upper upscale and upscale projects accounting for more than 75,000 of the rooms in the pipeline while economy rooms totalled just over 6,000.
On Tuesday, a report by research firm Proleads said hotel projects worth $7bn are currently under construction across the GCC.
According to figures from Dubai-based Proleads, most are in the UAE ($4.4bn) followed by Saudi Arabia ($1.2bn), Qatar ($620m), Bahrain ($490m), Oman ($300m) and Kuwait ($90m).
UK hotel real estate research company Lodging Econometrics also revealed that the Middle East is likely to see 98 new hotels with 29,226 rooms opening in 2010 and 115 hotels with 33,765 rooms in 2011.