E&Y reported that the average room rate decreased by 15 percent in 2016 reaching $138. The room yield dropped 13 percent to $82.
Beirut Occupancy rates increased although the number of tourists recorded 11 percent increase last year compared to 2015, according to the Ministry of Tourism, reaching 1.7 million.
Pierre Achkar, Chairman of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners, said: “The number of tourists does not reflect the occupancy rates, but the time they spend at the hotels is the real criteria.” For instance, 100,000 tourists who spend ten days are equal to 300,000 tourists who spend three days at hotels.
Achkar said: “Around 90 percent of the bookings were for three to five days maximum in hotels last year. Number of Arab arrivals increased nine percent to 523,000 arrivals. These were mainly Egyptians, Jordanians, Iraqis, and Syrians, as well as business people.
The number of Europeans increased 12 percent to 565,000. Previously tourists used to spend between ten days and one month in hotels, according to Achkar.
Wadih Kanaan, General Secretary of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners, said that the 59 percent occupancy rate is based on a survey of hotels operating under the management of international chains. A study conducted by the Syndicate stated that local five star hotels barely reached 50 percent last year and four star hotels did not exceed 48 percent.
The Gulf travel advisory led to a decrease in tourists spending. Ackhar said that this led five star hotels to reduce their room rate prices.
“Four star clients are switching to five star hotels because of the decrease in their room rates,” he said.