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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan, which aims to wean its economy from oil dependence, is gradually reaping dividends for the Kingdom’s tourism industry – one of the economic program’s pillars – latest hospitality data show.
“Saudi Arabia has seen a positive shift in hotel performance due to Saudi Vision 2030, a plan focused on diversifying the economy from being highly oil-reliant and focusing on public sectors, such as tourism growth,” global hospitality analyst STR said in its research note.
STR’s comment was hinged in particular on the 82.8 percent occupancy level in Riyadh hotels last month, the highest for a November since 2007, boosted by a 55.0 percent increase in demand. It earlier reported that Riyadh hotels recorded a 76.2 percent occupancy rate in October, thanks to the influx of visitors who attended the three-day Future Investment Initiative.
The average daily rate (ADR), or the average revenue earned from the number of rooms sold, rose 11.1 percent to 685.91 riyals ($182.68) while Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), derived by multiplying a hotel’s ADR by its occupancy rate, rose by almost 50 percent to 568.19 riyals.
Saudi Arabia has set a goal of 100 million visitor arrivals yearly by 2030, with the tourism sector accounting for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product from its 3 percent share. The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage recently opened the Kingdom for the first time to visitors from 49 countries particularly those from Europe, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Hospitality metrics for the wider Middle East region, meanwhile, were mixed, with occupancy rates going up 3.4 percent to 72.1 percent against ADR falling 5.9 percent to $146.47 and RevPAR shedding 2.6 percent to $105.56.
Indicators for the hotel industry in Africa meanwhile hardly moved as occupancy nudged 0.4 percent higher to 68.1 percent while ADR hardly grew to $110.95 and RevPAR almost steady at $75.60.
Real estate advisor JLL earlier reported that aggregate supply of hotel keys in Riyadh was unchanged at 14,800 during the third quarter sans new property completions during the period, although 550 keys were expected to enter the market before the year ended.
“Upcoming hotels include branded hotels such as Hilton Riyadh King Saud University; Nobu Hotel in the heart of downtown Riyadh and the first property for the brand in the Middle East; Le Meridien Riyadh on King Abdullah Road, and the new Movenpick Riyadh opposite King Abdullah Financial District,” JLL said in its report.
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