UAE, GCC hotels need over 90,000 skilled workers, face employee shortage

Shortfall of skilled professionals requires proactive measures such as investing in training, education and other programmes


Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 11 Jun 2024, 2:42 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Jun 2024, 10:23 PM

The GCC hospitality market faces a shortage of skilled professionals as the region will require more than 90,000 workers by 2026.

Quoting a Colliers report, Lokesh Singhania, director, Alpen Capital, said the UAE and Saudi Arabia will be the primary markets, needing 82,000 skilled hospitality professionals by 2026.


While speaking during the launch of the GCC Hospitality Industry Report, he said the shortfall of skilled workers requires proactive measures such as investing in training, education and other programmes.

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Rohit Walia, executive chairman and CEO of Alpen Capital, said the sector faces a shortage of skilled workers and needs help to recruit and retain adequately trained professionals for various roles, ranging from management positions to service staff.

“Furthermore, increasing competition within the industry is creating pressure on existing infrastructure, resources, and market positioning,” he said.

According to Alpen Capital’s GCC Hospitality Industry Report 2024, released on Tuesday, a shortage of skilled workers presents a significant hurdle to the sector's growth trajectory, hindering its ability to recruit and retain trained professionals for various roles.

“Looking ahead, GCC countries will continue to host major events that attract international visitors. Notable events include the Formula One Saudi Arabia Grand Prix 2024, the Olympic Asian Winter Games 2029, Riyadh Expo 2030 and the Fifa World Cup 203472. In addition to these events, GCC countries are making significant investments in infrastructure improvements, including airport expansions, construction of luxury hotels and resorts, promotion of MICE and corporate tourism, and increased cultural events. These efforts collectively contribute to the region’s ambitious vision for a thriving hospitality sector,” Alpen Capital said in its latest report.

It said the sector is projected to grow at 7.5 per cent between 2023 and 2028, reaching an estimated $48.1 billion by 2028, driven by the concerted efforts of all GCC countries.

$10-billion sector

The UAE’s hospitality market is estimated to rise at 6.9 per cent per annum to reach $10 billion in 2028 as compared to $7.1 billion in 2023, mainly attributed to the country's appeal to international tourists as a leisure and business hub, supported by a well-developed tourism infrastructure, it said.

The UAE has become a desired venue for business conferences and regional and international cultural exhibitions. As part of its tourism strategy, the UAE aims to receive about 40 million hotel guests annually and increase the tourism sector's contribution to the GDP to $122.6 billion (Dh450 billion) by 20318, Alpen Capital said in its GCC Hospitality Industry report.

The study noted that multiple-entry visas for Indians and the MICE industry will boost UAE’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

Alpen Capital said the international tourist arrivals in the UAE are forecasted to increase by 5 per cent over the four years to reach 30.4 million in 2028.

“The UAE is expected to see an increase in its occupancy rate by 400 basis points to 78.7 per cent between 2023 and 2028. As a result, average daily rate (ADR) is projected to grow 2.2 per cent to reach $161.1 by 2028 from $144.5 in 2023,” it said.


Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 11 Jun 2024, 2:42 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Jun 2024, 10:23 PM

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