A tale of two cities revealed

The latest industry research released by HVS International has highlighted the gulf in performance - and expectations - across the Middle East hotel market.
A tale of two cities revealed
By Administrator
Tue 01 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

The latest industry research released by HVS International has highlighted the gulf in performance - and expectations - across the Middle East hotel market.

The company's two market snapshots, for Abu Dhabi and Beirut, provide a stark contrast.

In Beirut Market Snapshot, authors Elie Milky and Hala Matar Choufany note that the country's hoteliers are suffering from continued political instability, initially sparked in the summer of 2006.

RevPAR was recorded at "an all time low" of US $43 in 2007, and despite many international hotel companies signalling an intention to open new properties in the market, only a handful of these projects have been confirmed, the authors write.

"The continuing political instability in Lebanon will hamper any early rebound for the tourism sector," the authors note.

"If the situation does not improve in the short term, many hotels and tourism services may face bankruptcy."

However the authors do point out that Beirut has proven its resilience in the past, and could return strongly.

"Beirut is seen as a sleeping giant by those investors and hotel chains who hope to be a part of the boom once the political and economic situation in the country and the region improves," they conclude.

By contrast, the Abu Dhabi Market Snapshot - by Choufany and Patrick de Nooijer - is bullish about the outlook for the UAE capital city.

"Abu Dhabi benefits from a stable economy and a stable political environment," the authors note.

"Given the significant rate growth potential of the market, and the government's commitment to growing the tourism industry, we expect the emirate to experience strong growth in demand for hotel (and hotel derivative) accommodation."

Hoteliers already operating in the market can expect double-digit growth in demand, according to the report, with most planned new supply not due to arrive until 2009.

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