According to the latest report released by Ernst & Young, Beirut’s hotel occupancy fell to 54.9% during the first two months of 2018, compared to 62% registered during the same period last year. Despite the increase recorded in the total number of tourists in Lebanon by Feb. 2018, the drop recorded in the hotel occupancy in the same period is mainly linked to the yearly 6.75% decline in the number of Arab tourists, knowing that Arabs are Lebanon’s largest spenders and are therefore the most likely to stay in 4- and 5- stars hotels which are covered by the EY Survey. As such, it is worth highlighting that the number of Saudi and Iraqi visitors contracted by 29.17% and 12.97% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 6,009 and 32,407, respectively. In fact, the tensions between Lebanon and the KSA following the Nov. 2017 Hariri resignation crisis may have discouraged Arab nationals, namely Saudis, from visiting Lebanon in the months that followed.
Beirut’s hospitality market performance, the ARR slipped by 1.7p.p to $147 while the RevPar in 4- and 5- stars hotels shrank by 13p.p to $81 by Feb. 2018.
Over the same period, national developments in each of Cairo and Manama placed both countries among the top regional performers. The hotel occupancy rate in Manama climbed by 14.7 percentage points (p.p) to 60.9%, owing it largely to the ‘Shop Bahrain’ festival that attracted approximately 122,000 visitors from the region. In Cairo, increasing stability on the political front coupled with the government’s support to the tourism sector constituted the main rebound in Egypt’s hospitality market. As such, Cairo’s hotel occupancy rate rose by 4.4 p.p to stand at 73.3% as its average room rate (ARR) and the rooms yield recorded rises of 7.4 p.p and 14.2 p.p to $112 and $82, respectively.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s hospitality market was the worst regional performer by Feb. 2018, with Doha’s hotel occupancy witnessing steep drops across the board. In details, the hotel occupancy contracted by 14.1 p.p to 59.1%, as the average room rate and the revenue per available room (RevPar) both declined by 7.7 p.p and 25.5 p.p to $148 and $87, respectively.
In the month of February, Beirut’s hotel occupancy rate also retreated to 61.3% compared to 68% in Feb. 2017. As such, the ARR and RevPar slipped from $145 and $99 to $144, and $88, respectively.
Monthly Occupancy Rates in Beirut’s 4- and 5- star Hotels
Source: The Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey