x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Middle East unrest's impact on hotel trade in focus

Unrest across the Middle East has unsurprisingly affected tourism, now new figures have shown the extent. Meanwhile Abu Dhabi continues to improve.

New figures released have shown the extent of the impact of the recent unrest on hotels in the some of those countries.

Hotels in Cairo saw occupancy levels drop to 14.6 per cent in February, an 80.1 per cent decline compared to the same month last year, according to the data from STR Global, a research firm based in London.

"This month we see the impact of the demonstrations and political changes across the Middle East and Northern Africa", said Elizabeth Randall, the managing director of STR Global.

In Lebanon, political instability prompted a drop in hotel occupancy of 46.7 per cent to 37.4 per cent in Beirut, STR Global said. Rates in the city fell 22.7 per cent to $187.05 in February compared to the same month last year.

Hotels across Northern Africa saw occupancy levels drop to 20.8 per cent compared to 69.6 per cent last year.

Cairo, meanwhile, saw a 24.8 per cent increase in rates to US$157.42 last month, as demand from media and the decline in tourists pushed up the average spend on rooms. In such extreme situations analysts warn that hotels should not cut rates because tourists are likely to stay away regardless of how cheap the cost of a room is.

Abu Dhabi, however, saw an increase in occupancy levels and room rates in February, with hoteliers saying events such as International Defence Exhibition and Conference drove guests into the capital. Rates rose 21.4 per cent to $164.22 last month. Occupancy levels increased 27.3 per cent to 74.1 per cent.

"With the recent developments in Bahrain and the enforcement of a no-fly zone across Libya, the full impact of recent events remains to be seen," Ms Randall said.

Occupancy across the Middle East and Africa was down 12.6 per cent to 56.7 per cent last month, while average daily rate rose 17.1 per cent to $188.53, and revenue per available room increased by 2.3 per cent to $106.92.