Hotel owners in Lebanon are seeking to attract new customers from Jordan as a slow tourism season and deepening political and economic crises batter the country’s hospitality sector, the Central News Agency reports.
The secretary-general of the Lebanese Syndicate of Hotel Owners, Wadih Kanaan, said that a delegation from Lebanese hotels will head to Jordan soon in a bid to encourage Jordanians to visit the country.
He added that the delegation would try to persuade Jordanian officials to reduce the airport tax because it’s too high and doesn’t encourage visitors to come to Lebanon through the airport.
“We at the hotel sector refuse to surrender. But the state with all its ministries needs to offer new initiatives to the private sector,” Kanaan told the Central News Agency.
He added that the Middle East Airlines has agreed to reduce prices of tickets from Jordan to encourage more Jordanians to visit Lebanon in the future.
Kanaan stressed that over 200,000 Jordanians used to visit Lebanon per year before the outbreak of the regional conflict.
“The reduction of the plane ticket will snowball and we hope it will achieve success. We hope to implement this scheme in Iraq, Iran and Egypt,” he added.
Kanaan disclosed that many hotels in Beirut and the mountains have reduced prices by around 40 percent to attract potential tourists to stay.
According to Ernst & Young’s benchmark survey of the hotel sector in the Middle East, Beirut’s hotel occupancy rate is lower than the regional average. “The average occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut was 55 percent in the first two months of 2016, up from 53 percent in the same period of 2015 and compared to an average rate of 63.6 percent in 14 Arab markets included in the survey,” reported Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of Byblos Bank Group.
“The occupancy rate at Beirut hotels was the fifth lowest in the region in the first two months of 2016, unchanged from the same period of 2015,” the report continued.
It added that Kuwait City posted the lowest occupancy rate of 41 percent in the first two months of 2016, followed by Amman (45 percent), Mecca (52 percent) and Manama (54 percent).
“Also, the occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut rose by two percentage points year-on-year, constituting the fourth highest increase among the 14 Arab markets, and relative to an average drop of 1.6 percentage points for the region. Occupancy rates at Beirut hotels were 53 percent in January and 57 percent in February 2016, compared to 50 percent in January and 56 percent in February 2015,” the report said.
The Ernst & Young survey showed that the price reduction in Beirut hotel rooms made them the second cheapest in the region.
“The average rate per room at Beirut hotels was $142 in the first two months of 2016, ranking the capital’s hotels as the second least expensive in the region, relative to Cairo ($104). The average rate per room at Beirut hotels regressed by 16.7 percent year-on-year and posted the second steepest drop among all markets in the region, behind only Abu Dhabi (-22.2 percent),” the report explained.
Many hotel owners in Beirut have been forced to close rooms or cut staff to reduce costs amid poor market conditions.
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