More than 4,000 new jobs are anticipated in the UAE and regional hospitality sector as hotels plan to expand their footprint and introduce new brands amidst growing demand for staycations and tourists.

Top brands such as IHG Hotels and Resorts, Rotana, the Ascott, H World International and others plan to bring their new brands to the region, which will generate a large number of jobs in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other regional countries.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the UAE’s travel and tourism sector will create 23,500 new jobs in 2024, taking the total number of employment to 833,000. WTTC said the UAE travel and tourism sector will be employing 928,000 people by 2034, with 1 in 9 residents working in the sector. This means, around 95,000 new jobs be created between 2024 and 2034.

Philip Barnes, CEO of Rotana, said the group employs a total of 10,562 and plans to increase the number by 10 per cent (around 1,050) before the end of 2024.

Rotana currently operates 76 hotels globally, of which 35 are in the UAE. So far in 2024, it has launched three new properties in the region, adding 413 new keys. Its regional pipeline includes seven new properties in the UAE and nine in Saudi Arabia. It plans to add another 30 properties by 2026 and also actively venturing into new markets.

Haitham Mattar, managing director for India, Middle East and Africa at IHG Hotels and Resorts, said the group operates 33 properties in UAE and 10,000 keys.

Mattar added that 9 more hotels will come up with 2,000 keys over the next 3 to 5 years.

“We take on average 300 keys per hotel and average 1.5 employees per key. We are bringing over 2,000 new keys, so we’ll be looking at over 3,000 new jobs,” he said.

“Dubai continues to be a key source market in terms of growth and development and there are so many opportunities. We look to continue expansion to Dubai and bring in some of the new brands like Garner. Also, we have a brand in the US called Even, which focuses on wellness, that we plan to bring to the region,” he said.

“This year, we are going to open Intercontinental Residences in Business Bay, Dubai. Our occupancy has been on the rise across the year. The summer months were a testament to the efforts that Dubai has put into driving tourism. The targets continue to grow and we are providing diversity in accommodation and products for Dubai tourism,” said Mattar.

Vincent Miccolis, managing director of the Middle East, Africa, Türkiye and India, The Ascott, said they employ almost 1,000 people across its operating portfolio in the GCC. “With the upcoming launch of Ascott Villas Riyadh later this year and other openings across the region, the company anticipates hiring an additional 200 to 250 employees,” said Miccolis.

Ascott operates three properties in the UAE and 11 in the GCC.

Miccolis revealed that they aim to make a debut in prospective new source markets such as Kuwait and Egypt, and a phased expansion in existing markets, including Oman and Bahrain.

Siegfried Nierhaus, vice-president and head of development for Middle East, India and Africa, at H World International, said they also plan to hire hundreds of people as they expand in the UAE and region, especially Saudi Arabia.

“We also plan to bring its Chinese Ji Hotel brand into the UAE and talks are underway with the partners. We also plan to aggressively expand in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Earlier this year, Deutsche Hospitality was rebranded as H World International.

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