|Lebanon's hotel industry takes a dive
|A new survey of the Middle East hotel sector by Ernst & Young indicates that occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut was 38 percent in the first 8 months of 2007, down by 19 percentage points from 57 percent in the same period last year. The occupancy rate in Beirut was the lowest among 20 markets in the region, as it was in the same period in 2006, and posted the steepest annual drop in the region, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group.
The survey said that the average rate per room at Beirut hotels was $111 in the first 8 months of the year, ranking the capital's hotels as the 12th most expensive in the region.
The average rate per room at Beirut hotels declined by 15.1 percent year-on-year and posted the steepest drop among all markets in the region. The average rate per room in Beirut came below the regional average of $161.
The occupancy rate of Beirut hotels was 26.4 percent in January and 27.8 percent in February, but rose to 41 percent in March and 56.2 percent in April before dropping to 47 percent in May and 21 percent in June. It increased to 41 percent in July and 47 percent in August, but remained far below normal rates during the peak summer months of June to August.
Further, revenues per available room (RevPAR), were $51 in Beirut in the first 8 months of 2007, down from $91 in the same period last year, ranking it in 19th place in the region.
Beirut's RevPAR was down 44.2 percent compared to the same period of 2006, posting the sharpest decline among the 20 regional markets. Beirut, Doha and Mecca were the only markets to report RevPAR declines so far this year.
Dubai posted the highest occupancy rate in the Middle East at 87 percent, the highest average room rate at $260 and the highest RevPAR at $227, while Abu Dhabi registered the region's highest growth in RevPAR at 27.7 percent.
The Daily Star