Tourism activity in Lebanon continued its downward trend in the first four months of 2020. Tourists were discouraged from traveling to Lebanon since the eruption of October 2019 protests which raised the security threat in the country to-date, but also due to the national health crisis attached to the coronavirus outbreak starting Feb. 2020. Moreover, travel bans extended internationally and regionally further reducing the number of travelers to Beirut airport and weakened the hospitality sector.
In detail, the number of passengers was more than halved, falling from 2.57M by April 2019 to 1.21M passengers by April this year. Total Arrivals alone dropped by an annual 56.4% to 540,380 despite some Lebanese expatriates being flown into the country amid the pandemic. By the same token, Departures retreated by 50.6% year-on-year (YOY) to 639,153 passengers, respectively. In its turn, the number of Transit passengers also slipped by a yearly 6.74% to 34,378 passengers by April 2020.
In tandem, data on occupancy as per E&Y benchmark survey revealed the occupancy rate at Beirut’s 4-and 5-star hotels fell to a low of 22% in Q1 2020, down by 48.1 percentage points (pp) compared to the same period last year. As for the Average Room Rate and Rooms Yield, they declined from $189 and $132 to lows of $130 and $28, respectively, in Q1 2020.
Evolution in the Number of Airport Passengers by April
Source: Statistics Dept. of Beirut International Airport