Dominican Republic resorts posted a 71.6 percent average occupancy rate in 2019, a six percent year-over-year decline compared with 2018 according to the Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES).
Tourism officials linked the downturn to the “collapse” of U.S. visitor arrivals following the country’s struggles with issues related to safety and security last year.
ASONAHORES data published by the Dominican Republic’s Central Bank reports that resorts in the Romana and Bayahibe regions registered the country’s highest occupancy rate in 2019 (79.7 percent), followed by Punta Cana and Bávaro, districts (76.2 percent), which feature a concentration of large all-inclusive resorts.
Punta Cana and Bávaro declined by more than seven percentage points in 2019 after posting an 83.35 percent average occupancy in 2018.
In addition, the Samaná district posted the Dominican Republic’s third-highest occupancy rate (68.3 percent), followed by Boca Chica and Juan Dolio (65.5 percent), Santiago (63.8 percent) and Santo Domingo (61.1 percent). The Sosúa and Cabarete districts (57.3 percent) and the Puerto Plata region (55.7 percent) did not exceed 60 percent occupancy in 2019.
Dominican Republic hotel occupancy is trending toward a recovery, ASONAHORES officials say, as December 2019 closed with a 68.3 percent average occupancy rate and November ended with a 68.4 percent rate, exhibiting significant increases from September (54 percent) and October (55.1 percent).
The declines reported by ASONAHORES contributed to an overall Caribbean resort occupancy decline of 2.7 percent in 2019 as reported by travel research firm STR.
The Dominican Republic also generated the largest declines among Caribbean destinations in occupancy (down 8.0 percent to 67.7 percent), average daily rate (ADR; down 3.5 percent to $136.10) and revenue per available room (RevPAR; down 11.2 percent to $92.12), STR reports.
The Dominican Republic’s supply growth (up 2.6 percent) is a factor in the occupancy decline; the country leads the Caribbean in construction activity with 5,403 rooms planned or currently under construction, said STR officials.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.