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Europe and Asia are going through the same credit slump tied to hotel development, while the Middle East is still going strong, according to the latest data from Lodging Econometrics. The Portsmouth, NH-based firm, which tracks the worldwide hotel industry, states that the global economic slowdown and tighter lending restrictions have led to a leveling off of new-room construction since this year’s midpoint.

“Everyone has a banking crisis, everybody has a softening of the economy,” Patrick Ford, president of Lodging Econometrics, tells GlobeSt.com. In Europe, for instance, he says housing crises similar to that in the US can be found in England, Ireland and Spain.

Europe’s pipeline for hotel construction stood at 1,022 projects totaling 172,249 rooms at the end of the second quarter, with the United Kingdom accounting for nearly one third of that volume, Lodging Econometrics figures show. Those under construction region-wide appear to have reached their zenith at midyear, at 574 projects and approximately 95,000 rooms, after rising steadily for six previous quarters, Ford says.

The Asia Pacific region, which has the world’s second-largest hotel pipeline, has shown minimal growth during the last three quarters, leading to a crest of 2,226 projects with 506,646 rooms at midyear, by Lodging Econometrics’ count. More than half those hotels are already being built, with Ford noting that the pipeline is set to unfold at an accelerated rate through 2010.

China accounts for more than half of Asia’s new hotel growth, with Beijing seeing a boost in recent years leading up to the 2008 Olympics in August. However, Ford says that the pipeline in Beijing, as well as Shanghai and Hong Kong, is likely to slow down from there.

Demand for hotel space in China has been affected by an overall slowdown in world travel as well as tightened national security that might have discouraged tourism, Ford says. Various reports during the Olympics said hoteliers were offering discounts, an unusual circumstance during such an event, and Olympic organizers gave away tickets to locals in an effort to fill venues.

Middle East hotel construction reached a new high of 556 projects totaling 164,259 rooms through this year’s first half, according to Lodging Econometrics. The region has shown moderate incremental growth over the past year, indicating that its pipeline is not yet getting the same economic and credit impacts as other parts of the world.

More than one third of the region’s new rooms are being built in Dubai, with 162 projects and 59,950 rooms, outpacing all other major cities including New York, Las Vegas and London, Ford says. Four out of every five hotel projects in the Middle East are being built in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, he says, meaning that the United Arab Emirates is likely to double its current hotel supply in the next two years.

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