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

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.”


Saudi energy giant to invest $3bn in Bangladesh’s power sector

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi energy giant to invest $3bn in Bangladesh’s power sector

  • Experts say deal will usher in more economic and development opportunities for the country

DHAKA: Saudi Arabia’s energy giant, ACWA power, will set up an LNG-based 3,600 MW plant in Bangladesh after an agreement was signed in Dhaka on Thursday.

The MoU was signed by ACWA Chairman Mohammed Abunayyan and officials from the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), officials told Arab News on Monday.

According to the agreement, ACWA will invest $3 billion in Bangladesh’s energy development sector, of which $2.5 billion will be used to build the power plant while the rest will be spent on an LNG terminal to facilitate fuel supply to the plant. Under the deal, ACWA will also set up a 2 MW solar power plant.

In recent months, both countries have engaged in a series of discussions for investment opportunities in Bangladesh’s industry and energy sectors. 

During the Saudi-Bangladesh investment cooperation meeting in March this year, Dhaka proposed a $35 billion investment plan to a high-powered Saudi delegation led by Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, the Saudi commerce and investment minister, and Mohammed bin Mezyed Al-Tuwaijri, the Saudi economy and planning minister.

However, officials in Dhaka said that this was the first investment deal to be signed between the two countries.

“We have just inked the MoU for building the LNG-based power plant. Now, ACWA will conduct a feasibility study regarding the location of the plant, which is expected to be completed in the next six months,” Khaled Mahmood, chairman of BPDB, told Arab News.

He added that there are several locations in Moheshkhali, Chottogram and the Mongla port area for the proposed power plant.

“We need to find a suitable location where the drift of the river will be suitable for establishing the LNG plant and we need to also consider the suitability of establishing the transmission lines,” Mahmood said.

“It will be either a JV (Joint Venture) or an IPP (Independent Power Producer) mode of investment, which is yet to be determined. But, we are expecting that in next year the investment will start coming here,” Mahmood said.

BPDB expects to complete the set-up process of the power plant within 36 to 42 months.

“We are in close contact with ACWA and focusing on the successful completion of the project within the shortest possible time,” he said.

Abunayyan said that he was optimistic about the new investment deal.

“Bangladesh has been a model for the Muslim world in economic progress. This is our beginning, and our journey and our relationship will last for a long time,” Abunayyan told a gathering after the MoU signing ceremony.

Economists and experts in Bangladesh also welcomed the ACWA investment in the energy development sector.

“This sort of huge and long-term capital investment will create a lot of employment opportunities. On the other hand, it will facilitate other trade negotiations with the Middle Eastern countries, too,” Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), told Arab News.

She added that Bangladesh needs to weigh the pros and cons before finalizing such contracts so that the country can earn the “maximum benefits” from the investment.

“It will also expedite other big investments in Bangladesh from different countries,” she said.

Another energy economist, Dr. Asadujjaman, said that Bangladesh needs to exercise caution while conducting the feasibility study for such a huge investment.

“We need to address the environmental aspects, opportunity costs and other economic perspectives while working with this type of big investment. Considering the present situation, the country also needs to focus on producing more solar energy,” Dr. Asadujjaman told Arab News.