By Andy Sambidge
Latest STR Global data shows Dubai hardest hit with 31.4% revPAR decline.
Hotels in the Middle East/Africa region reported a near-11 percent fall in occupancy rates in 2009 and are lagging behind with the global recovery in revenues, according to latest data compiled by STR Global.
The region’s occupancy in 2009 dropped 10.9 percent to 62 percent while average daily rate (ADR) declined 2.7 percent to $153.91 and revenue per available room (revPAR) fell 13.3 percent to $95.44.
Dubai reported the largest revPAR decrease, falling 31.4 percent to $163.31, followed by Istanbul (-19.5 percent to $127.47).
Dubai was also one of only three markets which experienced ADR decreases. The emirate saw declines of 23.7 percent to $235.48. Istanbul, Turkey and Cairo, Egypt also saw decreases, STR Global added.
Hotels in Muscat, Oman, posted the largest occupancy decrease, falling 21.1 percent to 53.6 percent, followed by Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a 17.9 percent drop to 58.3 percent.
Beirut, Lebanon, reported the largest increases in all three key metrics for the year.
The market’s occupancy rose 27.5 percent to 70.9 percent, ADR increased 27.2 percent to $205.23, and revPAR jumped 62.1 percent to $145.53.
Overall in December, the region’s occupancy fell 2.4 percent to 56.8 percent, ADR dropped 5.6 percent to $166.53, and revPAR was down 7.9 percent to $94.53, the data showed.
“The Middle East/Africa region currently lags behind the other world regions in terms of revPAR recovery," said Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global.
“However, as the region entered the downturn later than Europe, Asia/Pacific and North America, we believe this only to be a time lag until the Middle East/Africa region follows the other regions on the recovery path."
She said that overall, the Middle East/Africa region finished 2009 with 13.3-percent revPAR decline but still reported the highest revPAR ($95.44) of all regions.
Among the key markets in the region, Riyadh reported the largest occupancy increase, rising 18.9 percent to 52.6 percent.
Two markets ended the month with double-digit occupancy decreases - Abu Dhabi (21.2 percent to 52.9 percent), and Beirut (11.6 percent to 69.1 percent).
I tried in November last year to book hotel accomodation for 10 days for family. Not one of the top hotels in Dubai was willing to give a special rate. Their rates were still too high. Even when I told them I was a resident in Dubai did it help. Some even said that I must make an internet booking that may be cheaper ! With that attitude I hope they suffer.
I must agree with DNH. We were looking to arrange a family break this Easter and thought that in the current economic climate decent beachfront hotels in Dubai and Muscat must be good value. Wrong. Jumeirah Beach wants AED 2,300++/night for their most basic room and the Shangri-La (Waha) quoted OMR 404/night for a family room! Instead we are renting a luxury four double-bed room villa in Phuket, which comes with a chef, for under $500/night which we are splitting with another family so that makes it AED 850/night per family. I find it irritating that you can book a flight/hotel package from the UK to Dubai for less than it costs GCC residents to book a room direct with the hotel. I have no sympathy for the hotels and look forward to our holiday in Thailand!