01/29/2010, 00.00
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Tourism drops in Dubai, returns to golden age in Beirut

In 2009, hotel industry revenues fall 31 per cent in emirate. In Lebanese capital, they rise by 62 per cent. World recession hits hospitality industry hard. In Africa and Middle East, occupancy, revenues per available rooms and average daily rate decline.
Dubai (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hit by the world’s economic crisis, Dubai’s hotels saw the sharpest drop in revenues in the Middle East for 2009. Conversely, after years of war and violence the Lebanese capital of Beirut seems to be enjoying a second golden age, hospitality consultancy STR Global said in survey report.

Revenues per available room (Revpar), an industry benchmark, for Dubai hotels fell 31 per cent to US$ 163, the STR Global report indicated.

Tourism generates around 19 per cent of Dubai’s GDP and the global economic crisis hit it hardest.

By contrast, Beirut in recent years enjoyed a period of relative calm and stability after a long period of conflict marred by violence. This has helped the tourist industry in what was once dubbed the “Paris of the Middle East”. Beirut’s Revpar jumped in fact by 62 per cent to US$ 146 in 2009 compared to 2008.

The STR Global report also showed that the Middle East/Africa region saw decreases in all three industry measurements, namely occupancy, Revpar, and average daily rate (ADR) for 2009.

Occupancy in the region fell around 11 per cent from the previous year to 62 per cent, its ADR dropped by 2.7 per cent to US$ 154, and its Revpar declined 13.3 per cent to US$ 95.4.

Oman’s capital Muscat posted the largest occupancy drop on the year, down 21 per cent to 54 per cent, followed by the Saudi capital Riyadh.

In December, the Middle East/Africa region reported a 13 per cent drop in Revpar, which is still the highest in the world, according to the report.

Elizabeth Randall, STR Global managing director, said that because the Middle East/Africa region “entered the downturn later than Europe, Asia Pacific and North America, it “currently lags behind the other world regions in terms of Revpar recovery”.

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