Beirut hotel reservations show full occupancy in summer
Hotels are witnessing high traffic and some reached full occupancy over the past month. Hoteliers are optimistic and have high expectations for this summer’s bookings.
There was a good pick-up in occupancy rates starting last month, said Mohamad Yassine, General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel, Verdun.
“We are witnessing good performance now, as our hotel is fully occupied some times, and this rising trend is expected to grow,” Yassine said.
“Our prospects for the summer are definitely very high, and we expect demand from all nationalities,” said Chadi Gedeon, General Manager at Mövenpick Hotel and Resort Beirut, attributing this improvement to a stable security and political situation, and the return of Gulf tourists.
Occupancy rates at Kempinski Summerland Hotel & Resort currently stand at around 60 percent. “We have started to receive several bookings, although tourists usually book at the last minute,” said Nadia Madi, Director of Sales and Marketing at the hotel.
“This year seems to be very good for now,” said Bilal Arnaout, General Manager of Lancaster Plaza Beirut.
Hotels are seeing a wide variety of guests and from diversified nationalities including Europeans and Gulf tourists, as well as Egyptians and Jordanians. Saudi Arabia recently lifted its warning against citizens traveling to Lebanon, which was in place for eight years.
“We are seeing a lot of demand from corporates as well as religious tourists, mainly Spanish, French, and Italians,” said Joseph Coubat, General Manager of Le Bristol Beirut. Occupancy rates at Le Bristol are at 70 percent currently. “Our indications are quite positive for the coming period,” Coubat said.
Flight bookings have also increased. According to the Commercial Department at the Middle East Airlines (MEA), flight bookings increased ten percent for the coming months until August, compared to the same period last year.
Those bookings are by Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Europeans, mainly French, German, and Spanish tourists. “We used to see a lot of expatriates, but now we are seeing tourists from other nationalities,” said Walid Abi Lamaa, Head of Commercial Department at MEA.
Travel agencies are also witnessing larger demand for hotel bookings.
“This year seems to be very promising. Travel agencies are witnessing large demand, especially from Saudis,” said Jean Abboud, Chairman of the Syndicate of Travel Agencies. The growth in ticket bookings increased nine percent last year compared to 2017, and is expected to increase significantly this year.
More than 1.9 million tourists last year visited the country last year. It was the second best year for tourism after 2010.