With 20 hotel projects underway, the city has overtaken long-term hub for religious tourism – Makkah (19 projects) – and now follows closely behind Jeddah (44 projects) and Riyadh (48 projects).
The new figures have been revealed as part of the `2017 Saudi Arabia Hotel Construction Overview’ report by TOPHOTELPROJECTS, prepared exclusively for The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia. Experts attribute the surge in hotel development in Al Khobar, part of the third-largest metropolitan area in the Kingdom, to the industry-recognized potential of ‘secondary’ cities outside of Saudi Arabia’s key visitor destinations.
Filippo Sona, head of hotels – MENA, Colliers International, said: “Outside the Kingdom’s major cities, there are around 22 smaller cities with huge potential for hospitality development of any kind. Al Khobar benefits from its location, with a steady stream of business travelers due to its port.”
He added: “A seaside location with beach resorts and directly on the border to Bahrain, it also welcomes savvy Bahraini tourists looking to explore what Saudi Arabia has to offer. Emerging destinations in Saudi Arabia also include Jubail, a key industrial city, and Al Hasa, a green area well connected with Qatar and popular with domestic tourists.”
Major hotel brands including Novotel, Park Inn and Intercontinental are already placing these destinations on the global map. Occupancy rates are historically high across the country, tourism figures are on the increase and its some 27 million residents are traveling more than ever before.
With 175,000 rooms in the market at present and several more hotels under construction, there is the potential to more than double the number of rooms in the Kingdom through the opportunities presented through these secondary cities, Sona said.