According to Ernst & Young Middle East Hotel benchmark survey, the occupancy rate in Lebanon’s 4- and 5-star hotels reached 59.8% in January 2019, up from 49.1% in January 2018. Among the MENA countries, Lebanon ranked ahead of Bahrain, Jordan and Oman, but it lost to Kuwait, Cairo, Dubai, and Qatar.
In fact, Lebanon recorded upticks across the board. Beirut’s occupancy rate grew by 10.7 percentage points (p.p.) to 59.8% in the first month of 2019. In turn, the ARR and Revenue per Available Room (RevPar) climbed from $177 and $87 in January 2018 to $197 and $118, respectively, in January 2019. This may be attributed to the Christmas as well as New Year holidays when expatriates visit their families in Lebanon. Moreover, the total number of tourists visiting Lebanon rose by an annual 5.5% to 112,880 visitors in Jan.2019.
Regionally, Dubai grasped the MENA region’s highest occupancy rate of 83.8%, even though the country recorded downticks across the board in January 2019. In details, the occupancy in Dubai 4-and 5-star hotels fell by 2.2 pp compared to January 2018, while ARR and RevPar also retreated by annual 12.2% and 14.5% to $280 and $235, respectively. Meanwhile, Egypt and Lebanon were the only two countries recording upticks across the board over the same period. In details, Cairo’s occupancy rate edged up by an annual 1.9 p.p. to 75.9%, while the city’s average rate per room and room yield rose to $111 and $84, respectively, compared to $103 and $76 in January 2018. Egypt attracted tourists thanks to the improved security situation and parliament’s plans to lift up the economy, partly by announcing the “E-Trip: Egypt Reform Program” to reform the tourism sector.
Moreover, Egypt also inaugurated in January the Sphinx International Airport, which holds great touristic importance given its close proximity to top attractions like the Giza pyramids and the Grand Egyptian Museum, among others.
Over the same period, Saudi Arabia’s Madinah and Riyadh registered the largest downticks in occupancy rates and room revenues. In details, the occupancy rates of Madinah, a main city of pilgrimage, lost a yearly 17.4 p.p to stand at 56.6% attributed to the seasonality of religious tourism. It followed that Medinah’s ARR and RevPar also dropped by an annual 7% and 28.9% to $123 and $69 and As for Riyadh, occupancy rates in the city lost 0.9 p.p to 62.2% in January 2019, while the city’s ARR and RevPar declined by 23.1% and 24.2% to stand at $165 and $102, respectively.
Monthly Occupancy Rates in Beirut’s 4-and 5-star Hotels
Source: EY Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey