According to Ernst & Young Middle East hotel benchmark survey, Lebanon registered the second largest year-on-year (y-o-y) improvement in its occupancy rate by May, just after Egypt. This goes parallel with the fact that tourist activity surged by 23.12% y-o-y in the 1st quarter of 2015, possibly due to the skiing season that attracted Arab tourists, and the relatively stable security situation in the country, compared to some neighboring nations in the region. Accordingly, Lebanon’s occupancy rate improved 9 percentage points (p.p.) to 55% in the first 5 months of 2015, while Egypt’s occupancy rate edged up by 18 p.p. to 50%, registering the highest annual enhancement. The third largest rise in occupancy rates, by May, was depicted in Doha, Qatar, as it increased by 4 p.p. to 76%.
Over the same period, the largest decline in the occupancy rate was in Amman, Jordan which lost 10 p.p yearly to 53% followed by Jeddah, Saudi Arabia which recorded a decrease of 3 p.p y-o-y to 74% by May. These declines might be on the back of the increased political risk in both countries, due to the participation in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The third biggest loser was Abu Dhabi, UAE which lost an annual 1 p.p to 81%. However, worth mentioning that Dubai kept on upholding the highest hotel’s occupancy rate in the region, with an 86% rate.
With respect to Lebanon’s average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPar), they displayed yearly upturns of 6.4% and 28.0% to $174 and $97, respectively. This is certainly good news for Lebanon’s hospitality sector, as it might expect a positive performance by the end of 2015 if political and security situations remained stable. Moving to Cairo, the ADR added 33.4% to $103, while its RevPar went up from $25 in 2014 to $52 by May 2015. Furthermore, Dubai’s ADR and RevPar were the highest in the region at $288 and $248 respectively, even though they lost 7.6% and 7.7% y-o-y, over the same period.
Looking at the month of May alone, Beirut maintained a 61% occupancy rate like May 2014, with ADR and RevPar gains of 7.8% and 8.3% to $180 and $111, respectively.
Lebanon’s Monthly Occupancy Rate
Source: EY Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey