According to figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council, the combined contribution of travel and tourism to the gross domestic product of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries is expected to rise to US$44 billion this year, an increase of 27 per cent from 2009. With oil prices remaining consistently high, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are enjoying a period of prolonged financial stability, enabling them to invest billions of dollars in hotels and transport programmes to boost tourism. Saudi Arabia, for example, is spending more than $500 million on airport expansion, including plans to build a brand new airport in Jeddah. Businesses are also eyeing the GCC countries as a potentially lucrative proposition. “The economic conditions in the GCC are excellent and hotel revenues are continuing to grow steadily,” said Amine Moukarzel, president of Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts MENA, “so we see the region as a key hotel investment destination.”
Top industry professionals will convene at the annual Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2012 on 28-30 April to discuss investment possibilities.