Dubai has topped the list of the 10 largest cities in the Middle East and North Africa region in terms of the number of hotel projects currently under construction, according to a recent report. The January 2023 report, issued by Top Hotels Projects (THP), showed that Dubai leads regionally with 85 hotel projects under development. This includes 23,549 hotel rooms. The Saudi capital Riyadh was second on the list, with 46 hotel projects comprising 9,598 hotel rooms under construction, with Jeddah in third place with 33 hotel projects and 7,195 hotel rooms. THP is a leading global company for hotel project and pipeline data, profiles of hotel brands / groups, and information on the people involved. Its online database helps suppliers in the hotel industry to target sales opportunities and new business leads. Dubai’s tourism sector has witnessed a spectacular rebound after the Covid-19 pandemic. The Expo 2020 and the recently-concluded Fifa World Cup in Qatar have boosted the tourist inflow in the city, with local carriers announcing flight frequencies returning to almost pre-pandemic levels. According to data from Dubai Economy and Tourism, the emirate received 11.4 million overnight international visitors during first ten months of 2022, marking an increase of 134 per cent from the same period last year. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, launched the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031 last month. The strategy aims to strengthen the position of the UAE as one of the best destinations in the world for tourism. The strategy aims to raise the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP to Dh450 billion, with an annual increase of Dh27 billion, attract new investments of Dh100 billion to the tourism sector in the country, and attract 40 million hotel guests. It includes 25 initiatives and policies to support the development of the tourism sector in the country. The number of hotel rooms in Dubai at the end of October 2022 reached more than 144,700 hotel rooms in 790 hotel establishments, the Top Hotels Projects report said. This marks a significant increase compared to 134,400 hotel rooms in 736 establishments at the end of October 2021. The UAE ranked second in the Middle East and Africa in terms of the number of projects and hotel rooms under development, while Saudi Arabia ranked first. The Middle East and North Africa region currently has about 646 hotel projects under development, including construction, planning, design and projects close to being opened, data showed. The data showed that the UAE currently 135 hotel projects under construction, which include about 34,855 various hotel rooms. The UAE as a whole accounts for about 20 per cent of the total hotel projects under construction in the Middle East and Africa. According to the “Top Hotels Projects” report, there are 67 hotel projects with 16,400 hotel rooms in the pre-opening stage at the regional level, in addition to 358 projects with about 98.7 thousand rooms under construction, 121 projects with 32,800 rooms under planning, and 88 projects with a number of 19,8000 rooms are in the pre-planning stage. Looking ahead, the report forecast that the Mena region will see 319 hotel projects being opened the next year. This will comprise about 80,000 hotel rooms. In 2024, another 169 hotels with 46,300 rooms are expecred to come online, followed by another 86 hotels with 28,000 hotel rooms by 2025.