Occupancy 'declines at Mideast, Africa hotels'
Hotel occupancy declined in the Middle East and Africa in the first half of this year, global professional services Andersen has said.Andersen said the results of Hotel Industry Benchmark Survey reveal that occupancy declined for 18 of the 28 regional markets tracked. Hardest hit were the Egyptian markets, impacted by a decline in group/tour operator business, with only the resort market of Sharm El Sheikh recording an increase in occupancy. Due to neighbouring conflict, performance in Beirut hotels was generally weaker than last year however end-of-period results show a positive trend due to a regional banking conference held in April and the unusually weak performance figures in the first half of 2000 due to Israeli air raids. Hotels in Jordan and Syria were similarly impacted. The continued strength of the price of crude oil was fueling development activity in the Gulf countries, Andersen said. Dubai continued to consolidate its position as an economic and tourist hub for the Middle East with planned mega-projects such as Palm Island and Dubai Festival City on the horizon. Jumeirah Beach was once again the top performing market in terms of average room rate, achieving $191 in the first half of the year, and the sixth best performing market in terms of revPAR (revenue per room) growth. Overall, Dubai was the fourth best performing market in terms of revPAR growth. Manama, Abu Dhabi and Muscat were the top performers with double digit revPAR growth when measured in US dollars. Andersen's survey showed that among the top Gulf markets, Manama had an occupancy rate of 66 per cent and revPAR growth of 16.7 per cent, revPAR of $72 and average room rate of $109. Abu Dhabi: Occupancy 77 per cent; average room rate $89; revPAR $69 and growth $14.8 per cent. Muscat: Occupancy 68 per cent; average room rate $65; revPAR $44 and growth 13.5 per cent. Dubai: Occupancy 79 per cent; average room rate $125; revPAR $100 and growth 10.1 per cent. Kuwait: Occupancy 55 per cent; average room rate $179; revPAR $98 and growth 8.1 per cent. Launched in 1996, the Andersen Hotel Industry Benchmark Survey comprises information gathered from more than 5,000 hotels in 300 markets across 140 countries.