Middle East hotels turn in mixed results in October

Above, the Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain. Hotel occupancy in Bahrain went up by 9.2 percent to 49.2 percent in October (Courtesy Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain)
Updated 22 November 2017
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Middle East hotels turn in mixed results in October

JEDDAH: Middle East hotels in October turned in mixed results across key performance indicators, industry tracker STR said in its latest report on the region’s hospitality sector.
The STR report likewise noted year-on-year improvements in Africa’s hotel business, noting gains in the industry’s bellwether indices.
While Middle East hotels’ occupancy rates in October rose an annualized 3.3 percent to 64.9 percent, average daily rates (ADR) however fell 4 percent to $163.27 and revenue per available room (RevPAR) slipped 0.8 percent to $106.04. ADR represents the average rental income per paid occupied room in a given time period while RevPAR, derived by multiplying a hotel’s ADR by its occupancy rate, assesses a hotel’s operations and its ability to fill its available rooms at an average rate.
In Africa, occupancy rates rose by 7.6 percent to 62.5 percent while ADR improved by 8.4 percent to $105.89 and RevPAR higher by 16.7 percent to $66.14.
As a focus market, STR reported that hotel occupancy in Bahrain went up by 9.2 percent to 49.2 percent in October although average daily rates were down 8.2 percent to 58.71 Bahraini dinars. The return for each available room was almost unchanged at 28.86 dinars during the month.
“The year-over-year increase in occupancy came in comparison with a low base from October 2016,” STR said in its report. “The country’s absolute occupancy level was helped by a pair of events in Manama: the Federation of Afro-Asian Insurers and Reinsurers 25th Conference (9-11 October) and the Bahrain International Defense Exhibition and Conference (16-18 October).”
“The absolute ADR level was the lowest for an October in Bahrain since 2006,” STR added.
Bahrain tourism authorities recently announced that $10 billion would be invested to open 15 five-star hotels in the country between now and 2020. There are now currently 17 five-star hotels and up to 63 four-star hotels operating in the Gulf state, which has been marketing itself as a luxury tourist destination.
In Egypt, hotel occupancy in October improved by a hefty 32 percent year-on-year to 57 percent, boosting average daily rates by almost 74 percent to 1,151.26 Egyptian pounds and more than doubling average revenue by room at 129.3 percent to 656.07 Egyptian pounds.
“The devaluation of the Egyptian pound led to the highest October ADR value on record for the country [while] occupancy growth was inflated by a comparison with Egypt’s second-worst October occupancy month on record (43.2% in 2016),” STR said. “The country continues to recover from security concerns, and demand (roomnights sold) has grown by double digits in nine of 10 months in 2017.”


Japan, EU to sign widespread trade deal eliminating tariffs

Updated 17 July 2018
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Japan, EU to sign widespread trade deal eliminating tariffs

  • Both sides are heralding the deal, which covers a third of the global economy and more than 600 million people
  • Besides the latest deal with the EU, Japan is working on other trade agreements, including a far-reaching trans-Pacific deal

TOKYO: The European Union and Japan are signing a widespread trade deal Tuesday that will eliminate nearly all tariffs, seemingly defying the worries about trade tensions set off by President Donald Trump’s policies.
The signing in Tokyo for the deal, largely reached late last year, is ceremonial. It was delayed from earlier this month because Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled going to Brussels over a disaster in southwestern Japan, caused by extremely heavy rainfall. More than 200 people died from flooding and landslides.
European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who arrived Monday, will also attend a gala dinner at the prime minister’s official residence.
Both sides are heralding the deal, which covers a third of the global economy and more than 600 million people.
The deal eliminates about 99 percent of the tariffs on Japanese goods to the EU, but remaining at around 94 percent for European imports into Japan for now and rising to 99 percent over the years. The difference is due to exceptions such as rice, a product that’s culturally and politically sensitive and has been protected for decades in Japan.
The major step toward liberalizing trade was discussed in talks since 2013 but is striking in the timing of the signing, as China and the US are embroiled in trade conflicts.
The US is proposing 10 percent tariffs on a $200 billion list of Chinese goods. That follows an earlier move by Washington to impose 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods. Beijing has responded by imposing identical penalties on a similar amount of American imports.
Besides the latest deal with the EU, Japan is working on other trade agreements, including a far-reaching trans-Pacific deal. The partnership includes Australia, Mexico, Vietnam and other nations, although the US has withdrawn.
Japan praised the deal with the EU as coming from Abe’s “Abenomics” policies, designed to wrest the economy out of stagnation despite a shrinking population and cautious spending. Japan’s growth continues to be heavily dependent on exports.
By strengthening ties with the EU, Japan hopes to vitalize mutual direct investment, fight other global trends toward protectionism and enhance the stature of Japanese brands, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The EU said the trade liberalization will lead to the region’s export growth in chemicals, clothing, cosmetics and beer to Japan, leading to job security for Europe. Japanese will get cheaper cheese, such as Parmesan, gouda and cheddar, as well as chocolate and biscuits.
Japanese consumers have historically coveted European products, and a drop in prices is likely to boost spending.