Blurring the Lines: How the luxury real estate and hospitality sectors will continue to merge and mingle in 2019
Saad Audeh, Founding Member and Managing Director of Audeh Group and Chairman of Campbell Gray Hotels, weighs in on the outlook for the MENA region’s hospitality and real estate sectors in the near future
As we push ahead into 2019, the current construction boom across the Middle East and North Africa shows no signs of slowing down: the MENA region continues to represent the fastest-growing construction market in the world that is set to outpace global growth in the industry. A great deal of that growth can be attributed specifically to the tourism sector.
For much of the Middle East, the tourism sector continues to provide one of the most promising avenues for sustainable economic growth. As global tourist numbers continue to rise steadily, countries throughout the region are making concerted efforts to grab their share of these revenues. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 includes a strong focus on creating new avenues for tourism which includes the creation of ambitious new cities and sprawling developments, complete with new visa programmes to better facilitate new arrivals.
In the UAE too the tourism sector growth is fuelling enormous growth in hotel construction: the number of hotel rooms in the country is slated to reach 183,718 by 2022 – up from 137,017 in 2017 – with noteworthy growth in the luxury segment. Even outside the GCC, luxury and niche travel markets continue to be a key focus for countries looking to increase their tourism revenues. It is, after all, the most efficient way to profit from global tourism trends. In Jordan in particular, a wealth of luxury hospitality brands are cementing their presence in the Kingdom, with new five-star and boutique properties popping up in Amman and Aqaba – and everywhere in between.
In Jordan’s capital, Amman, these luxury accommodations are taking on a truly interesting and dynamic character reflecting more complex and wide-reaching socio-economic trends. As with other key business and investment hubs across the globe, Amman is witnessing the introduction of a growing number of mixed-use hospitality destinations, many of which feature private branded residences. More than just a passing real estate trend, these properties represent the changing nature of how people around the world work, live, and travel.
Given the nature of the global economy, more and more people are finding themselves less grounded in one particular location, instead, they find themselves frequently travelling and commuting between different countries and cities. With remote work becoming easier and easier to facilitate, work no longer only exists in a nine-to-five window, particularly when you’re dealing with an international network of associates.
Today’s corporate nomads demand the best of both worlds: the comforts of home with the conveniences, familiarities, and luxuries of five-star hospitality. This is precisely why mixed-use developments and branded residences have such strong appeal. And, when you add on-site entertainment and retail venues to the mix, you create a truly unique recipe for the modern urban lifestyle. These aren’t isolated gated communities; on the contrary, they allow residents to fully integrate into their surroundings. Luxury real estate is no longer about exclusion and separation: it’s about inclusiveness and the integration of all aspects of one’s life.
At Audeh Group, our decision to enter the Jordanian market in this way – with the development of Campbell Gray Living Amman – was an obvious one. We saw a dynamic, growing capital with a burgeoning, fertile investment environment that is rapidly grabbing the attention of investors across all industries and sectors. And, as the corporate nomads and global investors capitalize on Amman’s myriad opportunities, demand for the branded lifestyle experience will continue to grow.
Already an award-winning property, Campbell Gray Living Amman is a mixed-use development located in the heart of Amman’s new downtown district of Abdali, a rapidly growing neighbourhood that is home to some of the country’s largest and most prominent companies (situated in state-of-the-art office spaces), as well as vibrant retail venues, diverse dining destinations, artistic and cultural hotspots, five-star and boutique hotels, and high-end urban residences. Campbell Gray Living Amman is enhancing and elevating Abdali’s ambiance with a mix of both shell and serviced offices (already home to multinational powerhouses as well as local start-ups), a stunning retail destination (situated around a picturesque central courtyard, called The Valley), art galleries and entertainment venues, the inimitable Campbell Gray Hotel, and, of course, an array of the most distinguished branded residences on the market.
While it may be the most remarkable of its kind in Jordan’s capital, Campbell Gray Living Amman isn’t the only branded mixed-use property in the city; it simply sits at the pinnacle of a global trend that looks likely continue to grow across major commercial and touristic hubs around the world. Modern life is blurring the lines between home and holiday, between work and leisure, and the MENA region’s real estate and hospitality sectors seem to be adapting more swiftly than anywhere else – an observation that bodes well for the future.