Hotel occupancy in December and January exceeds the expectations of the Dominican Republic's tourism sector.
Hotel occupancy for Christmas and New Year exceeds the expectations of the tourism sector, which this year has between 2,500 and 3,000 additional rooms.
According to estimates of the Executive Vice-President of the National Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic (Asonahores), Andrés Marranzini, the housing occupation at the moment exceeds 87%.
“The number (of new rooms) is 4,000, but some hotels have had soft openings, which have not been formally inaugurated but came into operation in December,” he explained.
Last Friday President Danilo Medina participated in the inauguration of the Hotel Presidential Suites Cabarete by Lifestyle, built with an investment of US $ 36 million. In this first stage, it has 105 units for 131 rooms. In its entirety, the hotel contemplates 163 units.
The Dominican Republic has around 80,000 hotel rooms, estimates Marranzini. The sector hotels, bars, and restaurants contributed on average 8.5% of the Gross Domestic Product between January-June of this year.
The high season between October-November and March-April is influenced by the winter season in the United States, Canada, and Europe, all territories from which the most significant flow of tourists come. “But, I tell you something, the seasonality of the occupation has not seen those fluctuations before, that is, we have a good occupation rate in what was previously called the low season (summer),” Marranzini observed. For December and January, very early reservations are made. “There has been little availability for months,” noted Marranzini.
Statistics compiled by Asonahores show that for just January and December 2016, the average hotel occupancy in the eight main destinations in the country was 88.3% and 76.5%, respectively, and for 2017 84.9% and 76.7%.
The preferred destinations are Punta Cana-Bávaro and La Romana-Bayahibe. In January 2016, they reached 90.3% and 92.4%, respectively, of housing occupancy, percentages above 85.7% and 86.8%, respectively, registered in 2017. The third destination is Boca Chica-Juan Dolio.
“This year an extraordinary effort was made and the number of Russians and Englishmen, increased a lot. In Germany, we have to strengthen for next year, combining our strategy with the Ministry of Tourism to work the European market. Due to special strategies, there have been significant increases in reaching the Latin American market, “said Marranzini.
Although this 2018 cyclonic season was less active, hoteliers had to face the arrival of Sargassum to the coast again. Last year they suffered a difficult September due to the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria through the Caribbean, just days apart.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.