Lebanon Businessnews News

Hotel occupancy
dropped in 2023
Decline driven by Gaza war and Airbnb competition
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The average occupancy rate (AOR) in Beirut’s four and five-star hotels was 41 percent in 2023, according to the Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey published by Ernst & Young (EY). This represents a 14 percent drop from the previous year.

The decline is mainly attributed to the growing phenomenon of booking residential apartments through the international online platform Airbnb in addition to the fallout of the war on Gaza on the last quarter of the year. Even before the outbreak of the war, the average AOR for the first nine months of 2023 was ten percent lower compared to the same period of 2022.

Pierre Achkar, Chairman of the Syndicate of Tourism Organizations said that an increasing number of tourists are booking apartments instead of hotel rooms through Airbnb and this is affecting hotel occupancy rates. Hotels are also facing competition from guesthouses which have become a global trend as tourists are looking more for adventures and sports in nature such as hiking, biking, and climbing, he said.

The AOR plunged to 21 percent in December 2023, down 49 percent compared to a year earlier. It was 62 percent last September.

Achkar said that the impact of the war on the hotel sector is still noticeable and the AOR was at bottom levels in the first two months of 2024.

The number of inbound foreign tourists increased 14 percent in 2023 to 1.7 million, according to data by the Ministry of Tourism. Their number plummeted by 24 percent in the last quarter after having recorded an average monthly surge of 28 percent in the first nine months of the year.
Date Posted: Feb 21, 2024
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