The GCC hospitality sector offers a promising platform for young professionals

United Arab Emirates – The projected future supply of hotel rooms, as well as the rapid development and growth of tourism and hospitality markets in the GCC, primarily in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will generate significant demand qualified hospitality professionals, according to new research from Colliers.

According to the recent Colliers Report on Hospitality Education in the GCC, the hospitality industry in the GCC region has seen “tremendous” growth over the past decade, with inbound tourist arrivals reaching 59.7 million in 2019. , with a CAGR of around 4.1% over the past decade. the period 2015 – 2019. The majority of demand is for personal/leisure/religious travel followed by business and professional travel.

Mansoor Ahmed, Executive Director and Head of Development Solutions, Healthcare, Education and PPP for the Middle East and Africa region at Colliers, observed that inbound arrivals to the region have experienced a recovery from Covid-19, as travel restrictions are lifted and global travel appears to be returning to pre-Covid-19 levels. He noted that the UAE attracts the highest number of inbound arrivals, establishing itself as a top business and leisure destination in recent years.

According to Euromonitor International estimates, there were 894,700 rooms supplied in the GCC in 2021, an increase of nearly 387,000 rooms over the past decade, at a CAGR of around 5.8%. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are key markets in the region, with 70% of supply concentrated in Saudi Arabia to meet growing demand from pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and the Emirates Arab States represent 23% of the total offer. GCC procurement.

It is estimated that over 100,000 rooms would be supplied in the GCC by 2026, with the total supply estimated at over one million rooms – the vast majority being supplied in Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates. Considering typical labor ratios and room supply in the market, it is estimated that a total of 0.7 million people are employed in the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Given the upcoming supply of hotel rooms, it is estimated that the GCC would need over 90,000 qualified hospitality professionals by 2026, of which approximately 82,000 would be needed in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. United Arabs,” Ahmed revealed.

Currently, a significant proportion of staff working in tourism and hospitality in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are expatriates, with less representation of local professionals, especially in technical roles, experts noted. This creates an opportunity to cultivate local talent and skilled and trained hospitality professionals to meet the snowballing labor demand.

The Colliers report also highlighted that tourism and hospitality remains a niche area of ​​study in the region. Moreover, the disruptions caused by the pandemic to the industry have also raised concerns about the employment potential of the industry. Some expect students to exercise greater caution or reconsider tourism and hospitality as a short-term career, however, a large proportion of students, faculty and industry staff remain optimistic as the sector shows signs of rebounding as the pandemic gradually fades. The success of mega-events such as Expo 2020 has further boosted traveler confidence and, therefore, renewed hope for the industry.

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