Hotel development across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) has slowed for more than a year, with hotel construction in the region declining almost two per cent during the first quarter of 2021, according to hospitality data analyst STR.

Rooms in the final planning stage in MEA fell five per cent and rooms in the earlier stage of planning was down almost 30 per cent, according to March pipeline data from STR.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia continued to lead the region in construction, with the latter projected to see the fastest growth in hotel supply in the world over the next three years.

Europe is the only world region showing increased hotel construction activity in comparison with the end of Q1 last year.

The number of hotel rooms in construction increased almost 27 per cent year-on-year in Europe in March.

The Asia-Pacific region recorded a 3.4 per cent dip year-on-year in construction in March and a 17.5 per cent increase in hotel rooms in the final planning stage. The number of rooms under construction in Asia-Pacific stood at 462,795 rooms, of which 283,893 were in China.

The US led the world in new hotel openings in Q1 despite a year-on-year decline in construction activity. However, STR reported room construction in the Americas fell almost 11.6 per cent year on year in March, and the number of rooms in the final planning stage declined 13 per cent.