Mideast hotel investment may top $7b in 2007

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Dubai, Midde East investment in the international hotel sector is expected to top $7 billion in 2007, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, a global hotel investment advisory organisation.

Middle East investors invested more than $3.5 billion in the international hotel sector in 2006, and more than $2 billion was invested in the first three months of this year.

These finding were made public in an international hotel investment report released at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference by leading global hotel investment advisory organisation Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.

Blair Hagkull, managing director for Mena for Jones Lang LaSalle, said the expectations are based on more than just first quarter results and take into account seasonal variations. He said that the company is confident of their analysis.

Strategic investment by investors from the Middle East into the European hotel market more than doubled between 2005 and 2006, accounting for more than 9 per cent of total transaction value last year. Middle East investors accounted for more than 5 per cent of the total international hotel investments in Asia Pacific in 2006.

"Middle East investor interest in the hospitality market is not limited to recent high profile investments in London and New York" said Jones Lang LaSalle Middle East and North Africa Managing Director Thierry Loue.

"The leading investors outside their home countries but within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are from the UAE, followed by Qatar and Kuwait. UAE investors alone account for more than 76 per cent of MENA regional hotel investment. These investments, primarily in new hospitality investments are estimated to be in excess of $10 billion."

Hagkull said that groups such as Nakheel, Emaar and Tameer tended to be the prime investors from Dubai, and these companies typically invest in hotels that anchored large-scale developments.

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