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Great news for Caribbean hotels and resorts as tourism grows in 2013

According to the panelists who attended the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit last week, Caribbean holidays are likely to stay on the rise in 2013. Specialists consider one of the driving forces for this growth to be the rising U.S. economy.

Great news for Caribbean hotels and resorts as tourism grows in 2013

During the opening session of the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit, celebrated last week at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, panelists declared that the worst had been left behind and predicted a bright future for the Caribbean hotel industry.

There is more positive energy coming out of the Caribbean, than there has been in a long time”, said Jim Burba, president of Burba Hotel Network and chairman of the annual event. Specialists also predict that Caribbean holidays will continue to grow not only in 2013 but also in upcoming years.

In response to a pre-conference survey, 73% of the attendees thought that revenue per available room would increase in the region this year, while 53% were of the opinion that money for new construction would rise in the upcoming year. These optimistic predictions were also supported by presenters in the “Outlook for the Caribbean” opening session and by Warren Jestin, senior VP and chief economist for Scotiabank, who added that the driving force for this growth, in his opinion, was the rising U.S. economy.

To add to these encouraging opinions, the president of parent company STR, Amanda Hite, stated that the region’s performance data had improved across the board. The STR figures of the year-to-date performance are extremely encouraging for hoteliers, as holidays in the Caribbean have most definitely already grown through March.

Occupancy rose 4.2% to 75.9%, average daily rate(ATR) increased 9.7% to $223.47, RevPAR jumped 14.4% to $160.64 and room revenue climbed 14% to $3.4 billion. There has certainly been improvement in the last years, as ADR picked up quickly and turned positive in June 2010, and although demand slowed slightly in 2012, rate remained steady.

Taking advantage of the favourable times, many hotel projects are being developed throughout the region. STR data showed that 47 properties are in the active pipeline, including 27 which are currently under construction and are expected to open in the next 18 months. The Bahamas, which is known to hold some of the top Caribbean resorts, is already developing five projects with nearly 2,300 rooms, comprising the $3.5 billion hotel of Baha Mar which is expected to open in December 2014; meanwhile the Dominican Republic is not left behind as it carries out 10 projects with 2,600 rooms under construction.

The news that the tourism sector will continue to grow are truly encouraging for the Caribbean nations, as 14% of the region’s gross domestic product is derived from travel and tourism. The president and CEO of the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council, David Scowsill, highlighted how important this sector was for the region, as it is the primary industry for many of the countries.

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