Despite the rise in the number of European tourists, the number of Gulf visitors, specifically Iraqi and Saudi incomers continues to fall which is negatively affecting the hotels’ occupancy Rate in Lebanon.
According to the latest report published by Ernst & Young, Beirut’s hotel occupancy rate fell by 1.5 percentage points from 65.8% in the first 10 months of 2017 to 64.2% during the same period of 2018. The average room rate (ARR) of Beirut’s 4 and 5 star hotels remained constant at $186. However the room’s yield or Revenue per available room (RevPAR) witnessed a yearly downtick by 2.0% to $120 by October 2018. In the month of October alone, the occupancy rate of Beirut hotels increased from 68.8% in October 2017 to 69.6% in October 2018.
Regionally, Qatari hotels occupancy rate rose by 15.3 percentage points to reach 69.2% in October 2018, while their ARR dropped by 16.1% to $118 during the same period. The EY report attributed the increase in Doha’s hotel occupancy to the arrival of the first cruise ship at the Doha Port in October, inaugurating the 2018-2019 cruise seasons with the National Tourism Council (NTC). Moreover, managing lower room’s rates also helped in increasing occupancy and boosting the tourism sector over the short to medium term.
In the Month of October alone, the performance of Cairo’s market hotels was also positive with an increase Occupancy, ARR, and in Rooms yield by of 13.7 percentage points, 6.1%, and 28.7% respectively.
On the contrary, in the tenth month of the year, the worst performer of the region in hotel occupancy rate, seeing a drop by 19.4 percentage points was Muscat followed by Jeddah with a decrease of 9.6 percentage points.
A drop in demand led Jeddah’s hospitality market to register a drop in all KPI, starting with hotel occupancy by 9.6 percentage points and a drop in ARR by 20.3% from $228 in October 2017 to $182 in October 2018, causing the RevPAR to decline by 35.4% from $116 in October 2017 to $75 in October 2018.
The hotel Occupancy rate in Muscat went from 86.4% in October 2017 to 66.9% in October 2018, leading to a decrease in RevPAR of 40.5 percentage points to $91 when compared to the same period last year. According to EY, This may be due to the increase in supply in the market.
On a year-to-date basis Cairo’s hospitality market witnessed a growth in Key Performance Indicators (KPI) with an increase in occupancy by 6.8 percentage points in October 2018 to reach 71.6% when compared to the same period last year, accompanied with an increase in ARR by 6.9%, from $96 by October 2017 to $102 by October 2018. This resulted in a significant growth in RevPAR by 18.1% from $62 by October 2017 to $73 by October 2018.
According to EY, this improvement is linked to the increase in demand after the beginning of the tourism season and the improved connectivity with the resumption of flights over the course of the year.
Monthly Occupancy Rates in Beirut’s 4- and 5- star Hotels
Source: EY Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey