Hotels bounce back

The latest Deloitte & Touche Hotel Benchmark Survey shows that regional hotels have well and truly recovered from the challenges they were facing a year ago.

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By  David Ingham Published  August 2, 2004

Data for the first five months of the year shows that regional hotels have well and truly bounced back from the challenges they were experiencing a year ago. According to the Deloitte & Touche Hotel Benchmark Survey, average occupancy rates, room rates and RevPAR at hotels in key regional destinations are up almost across the board. Amman and Cairo, two cities that were particularly affected by war fears a year ago, saw particularly big year on year increases in occupancy and RevPAR. Doha and Dubai, which were not severely impacted by war fears one year ago, performed even better in the first five months of 2004. Riyadh, faced with violent attacks on foreigners, registered only a very small decrease in occupancy rates, which was offset by overall increases in RevPAR and room rates. Amman, which reported an average hotel occupancy rate of just 35.9% for January-May 2003, saw that figure jump to 63.3% in 2004. The city’s average room rate climbed just 1.6% year on year, but RevPAR was up a phenomenal 79%, reaching $47.93. The improvement in Amman’s fortunes is backed up by other sources. Le Meridien Amman told Hotelier Middle East that it experienced 87% year on year revenue growth in the second quarter of 2004 and growth in Revpar of $21 year on year. Net profit for the first six months stood at $171,000, compared with a loss of $1 million last year. Dietmar Kielnhofer, the hotel’s general manager, said that the improved performance was due to strong corporate bookings as well as a recovery in Jordan’s wider tourism sector. Royal Jordanian, the country’s national airline, transported 767,000 passengers in the first half of 2004, up 46.3% year on year. Cairo, another city that fared badly in the first half of 2003, jumped back this year. Average occupancy stood at 76.8% in the January-May period, compared with 52.1% a year ago. The average room rate edged up a mere 2.9%, but RevPAR jumped 51.7%, from $32.29 to $48.98. Meanwhile, Dubai’s relentless rise continued. In the first five months of 2004, average occupancy reached 90.3%, compared with 73.8% in 2003. The average room rate jumped from $121.74 to $163.34 and RevPAR leapt from $89.83 to $147.47. Riyadh appears not to have suffered from any big falloff in overseas visitors. The average Jan-May occupancy rate of 59.2% was a decline of just 1.2% year on year. At the same time, the average room rate climbed from $116.46 to $122.27 and RevPAR nosed up, from $69.75 to $72.36.

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