Tourism is hoped will recover after Ramadan
Hotels and MEA will hopefully see a 20 percent increase in occupancy after Eid
Occupancy at Beirut hotels has reached 68 percent in June, which is not bad compared to hotels outside the city, according to president of the Association of Hotel Owners, Pierre Achkar.
Occupancy in hotels outside Beirut ranges between ten and 20 percent, said Achkar: “This very low activity, especially in the summer, indicates that the majority of hotels are not operating properly.”
The hotel sector has been suffering following a decline in overland visitors. This slowdown, Achkar said, has affected hotels of all grades equally. “Reservations by visitors from the Gulf for the second half of June haven’t exceeded 20 percent, compared to 50 percent a year ago.” He said occupancy in Beirut and the rest of the country is expected to be at around 50 percent next month, compared to average occupancy of 90 percent in July last year.
Achkar said that activity will likely improve by the end of Ramadan. “Occupancy rates will hopefully see a 20 percent increase by August 20 if the political dialogue sessions were fruitful. It all comes down to the political and security stability,” he said.
Achkar said that improvements are contingent on political and security stability.
The commercial director at the MEA, Nizar Khoury, echoed Achkar’s expectations. He said that flight reservations are expected to recover in July and August: “Bookings, mainly by expatriates, are expected to rise by 15 percent around Ramadan and the Fitr holiday.” Khoury said that flight bookings for June had declined by ten percent in the second half of the month. “Visitors from some Arab countries cancelled their flights after the travel warnings,” he said.
Reported by Abeer Darwiche
Date Posted: Jun 29, 2012