Ernst & Young’s benchmark survey of the Middle East hotel sector indicated that the occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut was 73 percent in 2009, up from 55 percent in 2008, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group.

The occupancy rate at Beirut hotels was the sixth highest among 21 markets in the region, compared to being the lowest in 2008. Beirut posted the highest growth in occupancy rates in the region, but this was largely due to the fact that occupancy rates in Beirut hotels were low in the first half of 2008. The survey said the average rate per room at Beirut hotels was $234 in 2009, ranking the capital’s hotels as the eighth most expensive in the region, behind Muscat, Makkah , Kuwait City, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi and the Dubai -Beach sub-market.

The average rate per room at Beirut hotels increased by 26.5 percent to $234 year-on-year and posted the highest increase among all markets in the region. The average rate per room in Beirut came above the regional average of $195, which declined by 5.8 percent from $207 in 2008.

The average room rate in Beirut reached $273 in December 2009, unchanged from November and relative to $254 in December 2008.

Occupancy rates at Beirut hotels were 87 percent in July 2009, 75 percent in August, 71 percent in September, 85 percent in October, 79 percent in November and 75 percent in December 2009, compared to 74 percent in July, 90 percent in August, 48 percent in September, 83 percent in October, 71 percent in November and 81 percent in December 2008. Beirut hotels posted the third-highest occupancy rate in December along with Dubai-apartments and behind Dubai and the Dubai-Beach sub-market.

Furthermore, revenues-per-available room (RevPAR) were $172 in Beirut in 2009, up from $103 in 2008, ranking it in fourth-place in the region after Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai-Beach. Beirut’s RevPAR was up 67 percent year-on-year, posting the highest rise in the region, and compared to an average decline of 11.2 percent across the region. Beirut posted RevPARs of $281 in July, $242 in August, $162 in September, $165 in October, $218 in November and $205 in December 2009 compared to $156 in July, $216 in August, $84 in September, $91 in October, $131 in November and $208 in December 2008.

Dubai-Beach posted the highest average room rate in the region at $309, the highest RevPAR at $257 and the highest occupancy rate at 83 percent in 2009.
Source: The Daily Star