Avia Collinder, Business Reporter
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Evelyn Smith is questioning reports by consulting firm PKF Consulting USA that revenue and profit are up for the average Caribbean hotel, and the sector is performing at its best in five years.
PKF Consulting reports that in 2012, for the second year in a row, Caribbean hotels have experienced double-digit increase in net operating income (NOI) and the highest annual growth in profits that Caribbean hotels have seen since 2008.
Its findings are published in the newly released 2013 edition of Caribbean Trends in the Hotel Industry.
However, the JHTA's Smith says the assessment runs counter to the Jamaican experience.
"Based on feedback from members, this is not so. I don't know from which island or which properties they got their information," Smith said Wednesday.
"People are not reporting any increase whatsoever. In fact, they are pointing to declines," she said.
Revenue for the local hotel sector was relatively flat last year - as reported by the Planning Institute of Jamaica - but some hotels might have benefited from the closure of others in relation to year- round occupancy levels. The data reveals that all-inclusives were the primary beneficiaries.
Jamaica Tourist Board reports that last year, all-inclusive hotels sold 3,913,389 room nights compared to 2,925,493 in 2008, an increase of about 34 per cent. Comparatively, non-all-inclusive room nights sold declined by 33 per cent over the corresponding period from 796,401 to 531,852.
The overall result was a four per cent increase in rooms sold across the market.
PKF Consulting reports that the average Caribbean hotel realised an 11 per cent increase in NOI last year.
NOI is a company's operating income after operating expenses are deducted, but before income taxes and interest.
Jamaica's hotels are privately held by their owners and do not reveal financial performance.
The PIOJ's Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica reports that the 'hotels and restaurants' sector grew by 1.8 per cent last year, boosted by increased stopover and cruise-passenger arrivals. Provisional tourist expenditure amounted to US$2.05 billion or 1.9 per cent more than in 2011.
Of this amount, stopover visitors accounted for spend of US$1.94 billion compared to US$1.93 billion in 2011.
The JTB's Annual Travel Statistics 2012 indicates that average length of stay for foreign nationals was 8.8 nights. This was slightly below the 8.9 nights recorded in 2011.
The room stock rose by less than one per cent, from 19,369 to 19,506 rooms in 2012, and occupancy levels rose by almost two percentage points to 62.3 per cent.
PKF Consulting does point out that Caribbean hotels have higher operating costs than comparable US properties. For example, it notes that the average Caribbean hotel incurred 20 per cent greater food and beverage expenses than the average US hotel; and that utility costs are 165 per cent higher than in the US.
Offsetting these relatively high costs are the lower labour expense ratios in the Caribbean, the consulting firm says.