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Lebanon's Mid-range Hotels See 40% Increase in Room Rates in 2009

The Daily Star, Beirut, LebanonMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Mar. 29, 2010--BEIRUT -- Global hotel and hospitality consulting firm HVS indicated that mid-market hotels in Lebanon were able to increase their average room rates to $155 last year, a rise of almost 40 percent year-on-year, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group.

This implies that such hotels increased their rates at the expense of occupancy to improve their profits, since occupancy rose by only 3 percent to 56 percent in 2009.

In parallel, HVS estimated that more than 2,000 hotel rooms of confirmed, branded supply are scheduled to open from 2010 onward, with about 938 new rooms coming onto the market in 2013.

It added that developers and investors are considering a wide array of brands for the Lebanese market, as international hotel firms with a presence in Beirut are keen on expanding their position in Lebanon, while new chains are likely to deliver their entire portfolio of budget, mid-market, upscale and luxury brand in the country.

In addition, hotel companies plan to add residences to be sold on a freehold basis. Such branded residences are maintained by the firm running the hotel, while residents benefit from luxury living and access to the hotel's facilities.

It noted that many lifestyle and fashion hotel brands are seeing the benefits of opening in Beirut to take advantage of a trendy local market and the city's position as a fashion and cultural capital.

HVS noted that Beirut is increasingly becoming a market with high barriers to entry, as prime land is becoming scarce and development costs are increasing. It expected investments in the hotel sector to pick up considerably in Beirut, but cautioned that the sector needed long-term political stability. –The Daily Star


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