U.S. investors likely to help new regimes in oil countries
“These economies were really opening up to the world,” he said. “But I think there’s going to be a pushback now. My hope is that they won’t reverse directions, but that they simply won’t push further ahead.”
The uncertainty doesn’t sit well with businesses in these countries. Tunisian officials reported last month that foreign investments in the country fell by 17.9 percent in January 2011 compared with January 2010, with major revenue declines in tourism and petroleum.
For those with a port in the storm, the picture is much brighter.
Hotels occupancy in Dubai, the largest city of UAE, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has stayed strong at 82 percent and 70 percent, respectively, slight increases from a year ago, as displaced travelers flood there. Occupancy rates in Abu Dhabi are up to 67 percent from only 43 percent a year ago. In Muscat, the capital of Oman, they are up to 68 percent, a 12 point increase.
But these jumps in tourism come at the expense of other Middle Eastern spots that are crippled with unrest. Hotel occupancy for Cairo in Egypt is down to 40 percent from 67 percent a year ago, and Beirut in Lebanon also is down to 40 percent from 62 percent.
The troubling outlook has caused some to leave the area for a short time. But experts expect them to return.
“We find that hotels bounce back pretty quickly,” Mr. Worsley said. “It’s a long-term investment. I’m sure they’re going to be back in there as soon as things settle down.”
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