Beirut room occupancy rises in first 2 months of 2012

Occupancy rates in Beirut were the 12th highest in the region. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Room occupancy at Beirut hotels rose 19 percent as yields increased 48 percent in the first two months of 2012, a report by Ernst & Young said. The stronger performance of the capital’s hotels came in spite of a 5.7-percent decrease in the number of tourists entering the country during the same period.

Ernst & Young’s benchmark survey of Middle East hotels indicated that the average occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut was 62 percent in the first two months of 2012 compared to 43 percent in the same period last year, reported Byblos Bank’s weekly newsletter.

The report said occupancy rates in Beirut hotels were the 12th highest among 21 markets in the region, while it was the lowest in the first two months of 2011.

Occupancy rates at Beirut hotels were 60 percent in January and 64 percent in February 2012 compared to 44 percent and 42 percent respectively in January and February 2011.

The survey said the average rate per room at Beirut hotels was $216, ranking them the 10th most expensive in the MENA region.

The average rate per room at Beirut hotels increased 3 percent during the same period.

The average rate per room in Beirut came above the regional average of $189.5, which dropped by 3.4 percent from $196 in the same period last year.

Revenues per available room (RevPAR) were $135 in Beirut in the first two months of 2012, up from $92 in the same period last year, and ranking it in 10th place in the region.

Beirut’s RevPAR increased 47.5 percent year-on-year, compared to a decrease of 1.7 percent across the region, and posted the second highest increase in the region after Madina with a rise of 62.6 percent. Beirut posted RevPARs of $139 in January and $131 in February 2012 compared to $99 in January and $84 in February 2011.

The number of tourists entering Lebanon during the first two months of 2012 totaled 193,384, falling by 5.7 percent from 204,979 during the same period in 2011. Arab tourists accounted for 44.2 percent of total visitors. Europeans accounted for 28.3 percent and Americans with 11.4 percent, figures issued by Rafik Hariri International Airport.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 28, 2012, on page 5.




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