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Higher occupancy, new resort rooms for region

Published:Thursday | January 17, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Avia Collinder, Business Writer

With the exception of Jamaica, analysts predict that more hotel rooms will be occupied this year across the Caribbean.

More than 16 million tourists stay in regional hotels spread across 32 markets.

Jamaica has added 8,000 rooms to its inventory over the past five years. There are at least three active projects for another 1,040 rooms, according to Smith Travel Research (STR). The properties were not named.

Notwithstanding the expected additions, projections out of the annual Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit held in November are that the Jamaican market will not entice visitors in the volumes needed to grow its occupancy rate.

STR, which provides regional industry data, notes that the total Caribbean/Mexico hotel development pipeline as of October 2012 comprises 124 hotels totalling 19,318 rooms.

The total active pipeline include projects in the construction, final planning and planning stages but does not include projects in the pre-planning stage.

Mexico reported the most rooms under construction 2,627. Three other countries reported more than 500 rooms in the construction phase Bahamas, 2,250 rooms; Dominican Republic, 1,613; and Puerto Rico, 651 rooms, said the conference report.

Twenty five per cent of all regional visitors are said to go to the Dominican Republic.

The CHIC conference, held in The Bahamas, noted that in terms of occupancy, the Caribbean now ranks third at 67.9 per cent. Hawaii is at 77.8 per cent, Phuket at 70.9 per cent, Cancun/Chetumal, Mexico 67.3 per cent, Florida 66.4 per cent, Mauritius 65.2 per cent, and Central America 60.1 per cent.

In terms of revenue earned per room, the Caribbean ranks third at US$119.50, behind Hawaii US$157.80, and Mauritius US$120.90, but ahead of Phuket US$85.80, Cancun/Chetumal US$80.20, Florida US$75.90, and Central America US$69.60.