Low occupancy forces drastic price cuts
The Markazia Monroe Hotel may close at the end of this year, compelled by the sharp decline in the number of visitors resulting from repetitive protests in downtown Beirut.
“We have slashed our prices between fifty and sixty percent and despite that, we were unable to attract enough visitors to stay in business,” said Pierre Ashkar, Markazia Manager and Head of the Hotel Owners’ Syndicate. He said 85 employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closing.
Ashkar explained that the hotel is located near government and parliamentary institutions and objectors are closing streets and cutting off roads, turning Downtown into a barren area free of people. “Losses accumulate and if the situation continues as it is until the end of year, we will have to close,” he said.
The only factor that could prevent this from happening is the election of a president, according to Ashkar, who also owns the Printania Palace in Broumana. He operates the Monroe and the Markazia hotels under contracts with the owners, the Lebanese Army and the Saudi General Investment.
He said the occupancy rate fell dramatically since 2011 to reach fifty percent in the wake of protests: “Most of our guests are businesspeople and high-caliber individuals. They usually stay at this hotel for a short period so they can go straight to the airport. How can we serve them properly if the roads are closed most of the time?” he asked.
Ashkar explained that the two other hotels in Beirut and Mount Lebanon have also seen a drop in the number of visitors.
Date Posted: Oct 13, 2015