Internationally renowned experts gathered at this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) and delivered a clear and consistent message: now is the right time to invest in the Gulf’s growing hotel industry – namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Commenting on the common thread to emerge from AHIC’s main sessions which addressed the changing geo-political landscapes in the Middle East, and its ramifications for investors and developers, Jonathan Worsley, Chairman & CEO Bench Events, Board Member STR Global said:

Dubai is setting the standard in hotel occupancy rates and sustainability; Saudi Arabia is sagaciously tapping its oil funds to lead the way in religious tourism and prudently diversifying its contribution to GDP away from hydrocarbon revenues; and Oman – the often mentioned ‘dark horse’ at the conference – presents a landscape fertile for hospitality development.

“The investment that is now being directed into Oman’s hospitality infrastructure – such as the planned expansion of the Muscat International Airport, with the upgrading of the Seeb International Airport for instance – shows that the country’s ambition to flourish into a tourism hotspot is finally matching its unrivalled natural beauty and un-crowded, serene coastline.

Echoing Worsley’s sentiment, Kurt Ritter, CEO and President The Rezidor Hotel Group, said: “With the strong performance of the UAE and Saudi Arabia last year it is clear that now is the time to further invest in these key countries.”

Adding further weight to the case to invest in Oman, Salman Haider, Managing Director, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said: “Given the opportunities offered by Oman, we are currently working on three proposed hotels in The Wave – our master-planned community in the Sultanate.”

And concurring with the prevailing sentiment from the conference halls, Joe Sita, President, IFA Hotel Investments, promoting the new airport hotel brand YOTEL said: “Throughout the conference we saw interesting possibilities come to light in all three of these markets [UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman] – we see a future for the YOTEL brand in each.”