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Region's hotels set standards for global trends

Hotels across the Middle East recorded a world-beating 21-percent growth in revenue per available room last year, contributing to buoyant market confidence as investors and owners enjoy a return on investment in just five years, shows a recent Deloitte survey.

The result, double that of Asia and five times that of Europe, is in turn attracting global interest from key industry suppliers and The Hotel Show, the Middle East's leading supplies exhibition, is witnessing strong demand in line with the robust regional market conditions, said a senior show official.

Maggie Moore, exhibition director, said: "We have experienced consistent year-on-year growth, parallel to the pace of regional hotel development. With such attractive returns, investor confidence is now stimulating the regional surge in hotel development and hospitality suppliers from across the globe are now following that trend."

For years, less than optimistic industry analysts had feared the Dubai market in particular could not sustain such dramatic growth, but with occupancy levels at 85 percent and average rates showing an increase last year of over 23 percent, the pessimists have been confounded.

In terms of revenue per available room it was Qatar which led the region with an astonishing 62 percent increase, the highest in the world. Oman came third on 54 percent and Abu Dhabi and Riyadh both featured in the global top 10.

The dramatic transformation of the airline industry in the Middle East has been responsible for fueling existing growth and will be integral to underpinning its future. In terms of passenger traffic it is now rated as the fastest growing region in the world with a 10 percent increase last year. Official statistics put international arrivals figures for the Middle East, at 38.4 million last year, which highlighted a three-fold increase from 13.5 million in 1995 with Dubai as the destination for around 45 percent of those travelers.

Emirates, estimated to be carrying 33 million passengers by 2012, along with Qatar Airways and Etihad, will between them take delivery of up to 260 new aircraft by 2015. New terminals in Doha and Dubai are nearing completion and the new Dubai World Central Airport, which was launched last year, once completed, is set to eclipse both London's Heathrow and Chicago's O'Hare airports in terms of size and passenger capacity.

The region is also setting the trends other cities and resorts around the world are looking to follow. Armani, Missoni and Versace, more renowned on catwalks than in hotels, are all committed to projects in the region. Raffles (pyramid) Trump (tulip), an underwater hotel, a mock Taj Mahal, hotels on ships, a hotel of ice and one beneath sand dunes will all become industry icons reminiscent of a "new" Las Vegas.

Amman,05 15 2006
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