Saudi Arabia preparing to meet pent-up demand from returning pilgrims

Saudi Arabia preparing to meet pent-up demand from returning pilgrims

The kingdom’s RevPAR stands at 52% due to pandemic’s impact on holy cities

According to the latest research from STR, a total of 32,621 hotel rooms are currently under construction in Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom prepares to meet pent-up demand from pilgrims returning to its holy cities.

The analysts found that the country’s revenue per available room (RevPAR) recovery index stands at 52%, noting that the absence of millions of Muslim pilgrims has significantly impacted hotel performance in Saudi Arabia. Medina and Makkah witnessed RevPAR rates of just 33% and 24%, respectively, in 2021.

Although significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels, KSA’s hotel performance registered year-on-year gains in 2021 and the sector’s recovery is expected to continue throughout the coming year, with pent-up demand driving further improvements as Covid-related restrictions continue to ease.


Hotels in Al Khobar are currently outperforming those in Saudi Arabia’s other major cities, with RevPAR surpassing pre-pandemic levels in 2021. Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah, meanwhile, recorded recovery index rates of 88%, 85% and 56%, respectively, last year.

With two sessions dedicated so Saudi Arabia, ATM 2022 – which commissioned the research – will take a deep dive into the country’s tourism, travel and hospitality industry.

Forums will include ‘From strategy to reality: Saudi Arabia’s tourism vision comes of age’ and ‘Saudi Arabia’s blueprint for responsible tourism development’.

Senior professionals attending include Mahmoud Abdulhadi, Deputy Minister for Investment Attraction at the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Tourism; Captain Ibrahim Koshy, CEO, Saudia; Amr AlMadani, CEO, the Royal Commission for AlUla; Majed bin Ayed Al-Nefaie, CEO, Seera Group Holding; Fawaz Farooqui, Managing Director, Cruise Saudi; John Pagano, CEO, Red Sea Development Company and Amaala, and Jerry Inzerillo, CEO, Diriyah Gate Development Authority.

ATM 2022 will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from Monday 9 to Thursday 12 May.

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