LONDON-European hotels have resisted global economic downturn with remarkable resilience according to a report just released. Andersen, the professional services organisation, has published its half year results for Europe in what it describes as ‘the most definitive health check on the current state of the European hotel industry.’

The Andersen Hotel Industry Benchmark Survey, which monitors the performance of over 3,000 hotels, has revealed that for the year to June, overall demand fell by 1.1%, reflecting the current economic climate and curtailment of some travel, particularly from the US. However, average room rates grew by 4.7%, well above the eurozone inflation.

There was a marked variance in the performance of capital and secondary cities while southern markets generally outperformed their northern counterparts. Paris, Rome, Milan and Barcelona all recorded double digit growth whilst London and Amsterdam both suffered below average growth. London hoteliers are generally finding trading conditions difficult during 2001.

With nearly 50% of demand generated by visitors from abroad, the decline has hit the capital hard, particularly as last year was hugely successful in terms of visitor numbers. However, even with the tail-off in demand, room rates have increased by 2.8% to £111 per night.

Julia Felton, head of hospitality knowledge services at Andersen, said, ‘Our prognosis for Europe overall is cautiously positive. Certainly the industry is experiencing a slowdown in demand, but with hoteliers standing firm on average room rates, we do not expect a fall in room rates overall. Corporate demand after the summer recess will provide a good indicator how the year end performance will pan out.’

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