Hotel Transactions Pace Stagnates Across Middle East Markets

Buyers, Sellers Await Distressed Pricing on Assets

27 September 2021

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — During the pandemic, hardly any foreign direct investment has entered the Middle East, and the usual truism remains: When foreign private equity does appear, it is because the market has bottomed out or distress has entered the landscape.

Heightened competition for assets probably is what keeps the wolves from the door, and that is as true in the Middle East as it is in other global markets, according to investors on the panel titled “The Investors’ Perspective” at the Arabian & African Hospitality Investment Conference.

Amr El Nady, head of hotels and hospitality, Middle East and Africa, and executive vice president, global hotel desk, at business advisory JLL, said that while capital is interested in leisure product such as resorts, the hospitality industry in the regions is still led by developers.

“The Middle East has always been a net exporter of capital, although the last big deal was the Ritz London. Overall, Middle East capital sees itself competing in a very competitive market,” he said, referring to the approximately 800 million pounds sterling ($1.1 billion) Ritz London deal by an unnamed Qatari buyer in March 2020.

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