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Ernst & Young Survey Shows Occupancy at Beirut Hotels at 72% in First 10 Months of 2009:
Beirut Posts Region's Third-Highest Rate After Abu Dhabi, Cairo

The Daily Star, Beirut, LebanonMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jan. 12, 2010--BEIRUT -- Ernst & Young's benchmark survey of the Middle East hotel sector indicated that the occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut was 72 percent in the first 10 months of 2009, up 41 percent from 51 percent in the same period last year, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group. The occupancy rate in Beirut was the 7th highest among 21 markets in the region, compared to being the lowest in the same period last year.

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 10 months of 2008.

The survey said the average rate per room at Beirut hotels was $226 in the first 10 months of 2009, ranking the capital's hotels as the 7th most expensive in the region along with Dubai, and behind Muscat, Kuwait City, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi and the Dubai-Beach sub-market.

The average rate per room at Beirut hotels increased by 29.1 percent to $226 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 $191, which declined by 4.5 percent from $200 in the same period of 2008. T

he average room rate in Beirut reached $227 in October 2009 relative to $205 in September and $181 in October 2008. Occupancy rates at Beirut hotels were 57 percent in June, 87 percent in July 2009, 75 percent in August, 71 percent in September, and 85 percent in October 2009, compared to 57 percent in June, 74 percent in July, 90 percent in August, 48 percent in September, and 83 percent in October 2008. Beirut hotels posted the third highest occupancy rate in October behind Abu Dhabi and Cairo. Beirut hotels had an occupancy rate of 57 percent for all of 2008.

Further, revenues per available room (RevPAR) were $165 in Beirut in the first 10 months of 2009, up from $91 in the same period last year, ranking it in 5th place in the region, after Dubai-Beach, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Manama. Beirut's RevPAR was up 81.4 percent year-on-year, posting the highest rise in the region, and compared to an average decline of 10.6 percent across the region. Beirut posted RevPARs of $139 in June, $281 in July, $242 in August, $162 in September and $165 in October 2009 compared to $100 in June, $156 in July, $216 in August, $84 in September and $91 in October 2008.

Abu Dhabi posted the highest average room rate and the highest REvPAR in the region at $305 and $232, respectively, in the first 10 months of 2009; while Sharm el-Shaikh in Egypt had the highest occupancy rate at 78 percent during the same period. Among sub-markets, Dubai-Beach posted the highest average room rates and RevPAR of $295 and $246, respectively. -- The Daily Star

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Copyright (c) 2010, The Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon

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