MUSCAT: Luxury hotels in the Sultanate saw revenues plummet a hefty 24 per cent during the first three months (January – March) of this year as the hospitality sector, together with the wider travel industry, became one of the early casualties of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the total revenue of 3-, 4- and 5-star-rated hotels in the Sultanate plunged to RO 54.238 million during the first quarter of this year, down from RO 71.346 million for the corresponding quarter of 2019.
The steepest decline came in March when a combination of international flight cancellations, airport lockdown and other measures choked the flow of tourists at one of the busiest times during the year.
Occupancy declined 25 per cent during the first quarter following a 19.5 per cent slump in guest check-ins, the Centre said in its newly published monthly bulletin for May 2020. The total number of guests tumbled to around 389K this year, down from 484K during the first quarter of 2019. Contributing to the decline were significantly lower numbers of Asian, European and African visitors, including those from around the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, it said.
During fiscal 2019, Oman’s hospitality industry – a key thrust sector for economic diversification and national employment generation – earned around RO 230 million in revenues (3 – 5-star hotels segment) and achieved an average occupancy rate of 54.8 per cent. An estimated 1.775 million guests – Omani and international – stayed in these hotels last year, according to the NCSI report.