Yousef Wahbah, MENA Head of Transaction Real Estate, Ernst & Young said:“An analysis of the year to date and monthly performance numbers for hotels in the MENA region point to a continued realignment in the regional hospitality market caused by three key developments. These are: Changes in the political landscape, increased availability of rooms due to new builds coming on to the market and an overall shift in tourist demography. Due primarily to political instability, Cairo and Bahrain have led the year to date declines in room occupancies with drops of 36% and 29% respectively, negatively affecting hotel RevPar in these markets considerably.
“The year to date decline of 11% in Beirut hotel occupancy can be attributed to multiple factors including political upheaval in neighboring countries and better rates and values in the EU due to the softening of the Euro currency. Despite average room rates in Beirute falling an average of 14.1%, occupancy and tourist arrivals have lagged pointing to the fact that Beirut needs to provide more security to tourists and attract visitors from new and more diverse markets. Dubai is the sole tourist destination in the region that has shown a rise in both occupancy (4%) and RevPar (4.5%) with a very slight decline in room rates (-0.2% year to date).” He added.
“Dubai has been successful in attracting a larger share of the GCC tourism market as well as penetrating the US and China markets more effectively as it is considered a stable and open market, boosting overall performance figures. Despite the large increase in the number of available rooms in Dubai in 2011, overall RevPar has not been affected which proves Dubai’s magnetic attraction as a tourist destination." Yousef concluded.