Europe’s hotel industry saw profitability drop in the financial year to 31 March, down 6.3% to €18,014 per available room, according to PKF’s Country Trends 2003. But the continent’s downbeat trend was not reflected elsewhere - the Middle East and South Asia began to see the losses of the previous year level off, whilst Africa was the only region in the survey to start the climb back to recovery.
The report provides commentary and analysis on data from nearly 1,300 hotels in 55 countries in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Kuwait held on to its position as the city at the top of profitability table with IBFC (income before fixed charges) per available room of US$37,100, while Italy topped the rooms yield league with €164.82.
Europe was in the unusual position of posting the most disappointing results of any of the regions. Rooms yield fell for the second year running, down 5.1% at €75.91, due to a 2.1% dip in occupancy to 66.8% and a 3.1% decrease in average room rate to €113.65. Italy continued to shine with the highest average rate (€264.57) in the survey. The UK reported the highest occupancy in the region and Turkey posted the lowest.
Africa saw occupancy increase 3.9% to 61.6% and average room rate slip only fractionally to US$70.08, leaving rooms yield 3.8% up at US$43.14 (€45.74). Although it was the best performing continent in terms of percentage upturn, the figures represent the process of recovery following the worst rooms yield results (down 18.4%) in last year’s survey.
South Asia had a mixed year. Occupancy rose 5.2% to 58.6%, but average rate dropped 7.4% to US$48.22. Rooms yield was down 2.7% at US$28.23 (€29.93). Pakistan’s rough year was a major contributor to the region’s decreases, as the country’s rooms yield dropped 8.6% to US$26.26.
The Middle East suffered a tough year as the prospect of war in Iraq affected trade. The focus on filling rooms was successful, with occupancy boosted 2.4% to 59.2%, but average rate suffered as a result, down 4.7% to US$94.28, so rooms yield fell 2.3% to US$55.85. UAE achieved the highest occupancy in the survey with 73.8%, indicative of a trend for Middle East travellers to stay within the region.
p>Melvin Gold, managing director of hotel consultancy services at PKF, said: “The hotel sector is clearly set for a recovery from the cyclical slump it has experienced in the last couple of years. Predicting exactly when and how quickly this recovery will take place is never easy. Certainly the results of Country Trends 2003 show a wide variety of experiences between the different regions. However, only eight out of 27 countries saw rooms yield increase.
“Europe’s disappointing results followed the area’s continued battering post 9/11 as well as the build up to the conflict in Iraq. The fragile state of the domestic economy in some of the continent’s countries has only compounded the problems. However, there are positive signs for the future with Portugal’s European championships and Greece’s Olympic Games, both next summer, set to bring a major tourist boost.”