Saudi, Mideast hotels record highest occupancy levels since February

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

RIYADH: In November, hotels in the Middle East recorded their highest occupancy levels since February 2020, even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on the travel and tourism sector.

According to the November 2020 report by global hotel data analysis company STR, the average hotel occupancy rate for the Middle East was 46.9 percent, a drop of 34.4 percentage points compared to November 2019.

The average daily rate (ADR) per room was $107.98, a year-on-year drop of 24.9 percent, meaning revenue per available room (RevPAR) was $50.63, a year-on-year decline of 50.7 percent.

In Saudi Arabia, November’s average occupancy rate was 34.7 percent, down 38.7 percentage points compared to last year.

ADR was actually up 5.2 percent to SR498.11 ($132.83), but RevPAR still slipped 35.5 percent year-on-year to SR172.70

Each of the key performance indicators in the Kingdom was up slightly month-on-month in November, with ADR increasing for the first time since April.

In Oman, average occupancy slumped 66 percent to 24.1 percent, while ADR was down 45.2 percent to 33.81 Omani rials ($87.93) and RevPAR was down 81.4 percent to 8.15 rials.

Despite the drop, the sultanate’s occupancy and RevPAR levels were at their highest levels since March, but the country is still struggling to recover from the impact of global travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

“COVID-19 continues to weigh upon the travel and tourism sector, with government and industry bodies alike looking for a path towards a sustained recovery,” Colliers International, the global commercial real estate leader, said in its Middle East and North Africa Hotel Forecasts, which focused on the first 10 months of the year.

“While restrictions on movement and international travel have begun to ease, controlled and consistent growth will be the key to achieve previous levels of demand.”

Colliers gave a breakdown of occupancy rates across Saudi Arabia’s main markets, averaging 50 percent in Riyadh (down 18 percentage points compared to last year), 37 percent in Jeddah (down 37 percentage points), 21 percent in Makkah (down 66 percentage points), 27 percent in Madinah (down 57 percentage points) and 54 percent in Alkhobar (down just 5 percentage points).

Looking to 2021, Colliers predicted that Riyadh will average 55 percent occupancy, with Jeddah at 51 percent, Makkah at 37 percent, Madinah at 51 percent and Alkhobar at 55 percent.