Hotel occupancy at Lebanon’s five-star hotels  fell to 56 percent in the first 10 months of 2012 with rates particularly low since August, Ernst & Young’s monthly survey showed.
“The occupancy rate at Beirut hotels was the fifth lowest among 21 markets in the region,  while it was the seventh lowest in the same period last year,” said Byblos Bank in its weekly economic publication, quoting the report.
Occupancy rates in Beirut in 2012 were 60 percent in January, 64 percent in February, 74 percent in March, 66 percent in April, 67 percent in May, 58 percent in June, 53 percent in July, 34 percent in August, 46 percent in September and 39 percent in October.
The average rate per room decreased by 9.7 percent, posting the fourth-steepest decrease in the region.
The average rate per room at Beirut hotels was $198 in the first 10 months of 2012, 11th in the region, above the regional average of $186.1, which increased by a marginal 0.6 percent from the same period last year.
Further, revenues per available room (RevPAR) were $112 in Beirut in the 10 months of 2012, down from $124 in the same period last year, and ranking it in 12th place in the region.
Beirut’s RevPAR fell by 9.6 percent year-on-year, compared to an increase of 6.6 percent across the region, and posted the second steepest decrease in the region.
Lebanon has been suffering from a sharp decrease in tourism in 2012 and 2011. The number of tourists declined 15.8 percent in the first 10 months of 2012 compared to 2011 and by more than 36 percent compared to 2010.
The Lebanese Hotel Association has said that occupancy rates are much lower than Ernst & Young’s estimates , which only surveys high-end five-star hotels in the capital.
Dubai-Beach posted the highest average room rate in the region at $339 and the highest RevPAR at $264, while Dubai-Apartments posted the highest regional occupancy of 86 percent in the first 10 months of 2012.