Regional hotel construction saw a sharp decline in 2021

Asia Pacific was the only region to record an uptick in room construction led by China’s domestic tourism boom 

According to December 2021 data collated by Smith Travel Research (STR), hotel construction across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) witnessed a sharp decline last year with a total of 130,225 rooms being built, down almost 6% from 2020.

Across MEA, final planning saw a total of 38,765 rooms (-14%); though planning saw 67,142 rooms (+2.8%). The total number of rooms under contract was also down by almost 5% when compared to 2020 figures.

Regional construction activity was led by Saudi Arabia with 40,269 rooms, and the UAE with 31,715 rooms

Hotel construction activity also fell globally with a total of 221,789 rooms being built in 2021, representing an 8% decline compared to the previous year.


Only the Asia Pacific region witnessed increased hotel construction activity. Rooms under construction totalled 473,983, an increase of 5%; there were 297,687 rooms in the planning stage, an increase of 16%; and 941,880 rooms under contract representing an increase of 7% when compared to the previous year.

China – currently focused on domestic tourism – topped the region with 290,265 rooms in construction, followed by Vietnam with 30,546 rooms underway. 

A report by the China Tourism Academy estimated that China would see a total of 4.1 billion domestic tourist trips in 2021, and gain Rmb3300bn (US$515.5bn) in revenue from domestic tourism in the same year, a massive increase of 48% from 2020.

For the full report, visit 

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