Tourism recovery boosts profits in Egypt, Europe hotels

Hotels in the Europe, Middle East and Africa market had a decidedly mixed 2018, according to the latest stats from STR. While some cities saw double-digit growth in occupancy, average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR), others faced similar declines.


Europe’s hotel industry reported positive results in the three key performance metrics during 2018. Occupancy improved 1.2 percent to 72.4 percent, ADR grew 3.9 percent to €112.49 and RevPAR was up 5.2 percent to €81.43. 

In Dublin, Ireland, occupancy grew +0.7 percent to 83.8 percent, the highest for any year in STR’s Dublin database. The market has also seen eight consecutive years of RevPAR growth, which most recently increased 7.2 percent €121.70 year-over-year. ADR, meanwhile, was up 6.5 percent to €145.15

STR analysts attribute the strong performance to a large number of events held during the year: the St. Patrick’s Festival (March 17-19), the Six Nations Rugby Championship, the EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium (November 13-16) and a number of concerts (U2, Florence + the Machine and Snow Patrol). 

Brussels registered another year of double-digit RevPAR growth after the negative impact of the terror attacks of 2016, up 12.4 percent to €84.17. At 72.9 percent, up 6.9 percent from 2017, the market’s absolute occupancy level was the highest for any year in STR’s Brussels database, and the market has seen 26 consecutive months of year-over-year occupancy growth. ADR grew 5.2 percent to €115.50

According to Tourism Economics, Belgium welcomed roughly 9 million visitors in 2018, and this is expected to continue. STR analysts note inbound tourism will continue to drive demand and push hotel performance levels. 

Middle East & Africa

Hotels in the Middle East reported negative 2018 performance results, while hotels in Africa posted total-year growth across the three key performance metrics.

Hotels in the Middle East saw occupancy fall 0.5 percent to 64.6 percent while ADR dropped 5.2 percent to $155.45 and RevPAR declined 5.7 percent to $100.45. 

Africa was a decidedly different story, with occupancy up 4.7 percent to 60.6 percent, ADR up 7.1 percent to $118.31 and RevPAR up 12.1 percent to $71.74.

Among subcontinents in the region, Northern Africa posted the largest 2018 increases in each of the three key performance metrics: occupancy (+11.8 percent to 61.1 percent), ADR (+13.8 percent to US$96.81) and RevPAR (+27.2 percent to $59.18). Within Northern Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia each recorded double-digit RevPAR growth for the year.  

In Cairo and Giza, Egypt occupancy grew 11 percent to 72.5 percent, ADR was up 10.8 percent to EGP1,713.35 and RevPAR increased 23.1 percent to EGP1,242.20.

According to STR analysts, the submarket’s 10.5-percent rise in demand (room nights sold) was mostly a result of tourism recovery, improved security protocols, resumed flights with Russia, and marketing campaigns. ADR growth was helped by the combination of increased guest demand and competitive pricing due to the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound. Overall, the absolute occupancy level was the highest for Cairo and Giza since 2008, while the ADR value was the highest STR has ever benchmarked for the submarket. 

Doha, Qatar, did not fare nearly as well in 2018. While occupancy was up 10.1 percent to 60.8 percent for the year, ADR fell 18.8 percent to QAR269.46 and RevPAR was down 10.6 percent to QAR163.86.

STR analysts cite tourism recovery, which was helped by a shift to alternative source markets and fast-tracked reforms stemming from Qatar’s National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, as reasons behind a 14.3 percent jump in demand. The 60.8 percent absolute occupancy level was still low compared to recent years, but year-over-year growth was pronounced because 2017 was such a low demand year affected by the blockade imposed on the country, according to STR. ADR, on the other hand, continued to decline in 2018 as hoteliers looked to maintain market share with an influx of new supply entering the country.