Approximately 60 percent of Saudi Arabia's 143-hotel development pipeline is expected to open this year. A major portion of these 84 hotels, which consist of 27,281 guestrooms, are in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Al Khobar, according to Tophotelprojects.
These cities all scored high ranks in the Middle East's top 10 most active cities for hospitality. Riyadh is in third, and Jeddah is in fourth, while Makkah is in sixth and Al Khobar is in 10th. Some hotel openings in the kingdom slated for 2018 are Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences, Copthorne Hotel Makkah, Jabal Omar, Swiss-Belhotel Al Aziziya Makkah, Millennium Hotel Jeddah and the Hilton Garden Inn Al Khobar.
Hilton currently has the most hotels under construction in Saudi Arabia. The country has Hilton's largest pipeline in the Middle East, with 30 hotels under development in close to 12 cities.
"Saudi Arabia is one of the most important markets in this region, with new legislation and government reforms making the Kingdom more accessible than ever," Kamel Ajami, VP of operations for the Saudi Arabia & Levant region, Hilton, told GDN Online.
The hotel group has three hotels with more than 1,500 guestrooms opening in Saudi Arabia this year: the 668-room DoubleTree by Hilton in the Jabal Omar development in Makkah, a Hilton Garden Inn in Al Khobar and the Hilton in Riyadh.
Rotana has a set of three hotels opening this year in Saudi Arabia. The properties opening in the first quarter are the 156-room Centro Olaya Riyadh, the 247-room Centro Corniche, Al Khobar and the 189-room Centro Salama, Jeddah.
This surge of construction comes as a remedy to the Kingdom's lack of hotel supply, and is part of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 economic diversification initiative to stimulate the travel and tourism industry.
"In addition to mass scale hotel construction, major transportation infrastructure projects, including the new airport in Jeddah and Haramain High Speed Rail project launching this year, will have a big impact," Laurent A. Voivenel, SVP of operations & development for the Middle East, Africa & India, Swiss-Belhotel International, told GDN Online. "The government is also investing significantly in large-scale leisure, culture and entertainment projects."