Hotel occupany levels at five-star hotels in Lebanon slumped to an average of just 56% in the first 10 months of 2012 as the country suffers the impact of the crisis in neighbouring Syria and ongoing regional turmoil.
Ernst & Young’s monthly survey showed that occupancy at Beirut hotels was the fifth lowest among 21 markets in the region.
The report showed that Beirut hotels have been suffering particularly badly since August when occupancy levels hit a low of just 34%.
This compared to 60% in January, 74% in March, 66% in April, 67% in May, 58% in June, 53% in July, 46% in September and 39% in October.
The average room rate decreased by 9.7% to $198 in the first 10 months of 2012, posting the fourth-steepest decrease in the region.
Revenues per available room (RevPAR) were $112 in Beirut in the 10 months of 2012, down from $124 in the same period last year, and ranking it in 12th place in the region.
Lebanon’s tourism sector saw a marked decline in 2012 after most GCC states issued travel warnings banning their citizens from visiting the country.
The subsequent slump in tourism has led to a sharp fall in business, forcing many shops and restaurants in Downtown Beirut and other areas into closure, according to media reports.
In a bid to revive its struggling tourism sector, the tourism ministry has launched a campaign of 50 days of discounts on airline tickets, hotels and at shopping centers.
The promotion runs from January 8 until February 28 2013 and will feature discounts of up to 50% across tourism products in Lebanon.