Occupancy at start of high season set at 68.13%

Dec. 15 -31 occupancy
North Guanacaste
and nearby islands
Northern plains
Central Pacific
Southern Caribbean
Southern Guanacaste 71.0%
South Pacific
Central Valley
Northern Caribbean
National average
Source = Cámera Nacional de Turism

The national tourism chamber said that a national survey showed hotel occupancy at 68.13 percent in the last two weeks of December. That’s 6 percent lower than hotel operators guessed based on reservations for the last 15 days of the month.

Monteverde, where hotel operators estimated their Dec. 15 to 31 reservations at 65 percent reported actual occupancy at 58 percent, the survey said. Monteverde lodging operators also estimated high season reservations at 84 percent and were the most optimistic respondents in the mid-December survey.

Both surveys were done by the Cámera Nacional de Turismo. The Jan. 1 to 7 sounding included responses from 112 firms from all parts of the country. It asked for actual numbers for the last two weeks of December.

The country has 2,461 hotels with an estimated 43,362 rooms. The chamber noted that many condominiums and other types of residences offer lodging for tourists. Many Costa Rican tourists stay with family members or friends when they travel.

Reported occupancy ranged from 79.4 percent in northern Guanacaste to 36.3 percent in the northern Caribbean.

The Central Valley hotel operators reported 54.3 percent occupancy, significantly better than the 39.4 percent reservations reported in the December survey. But it was lower than the 74 percent high season estimate.

The chamber said its statistics show an average of 62.4 occupancy rate from 2003 through 2010. Most of those contacted the tourism demand normal or higher than normal. Only 11.5 percent characterized it as lower, the chamber said.

Dec. 15 is generally considered the beginning of the tourism high season here. In the mid-December survey, the chamber asked about actual occupancy and also about estimates for the high season. The January survey sought just actual occupancy for the two weeks.

Although occupancy Dec. 15 to 31 was lower than expected, the chamber said that the average for the full month was 61.7 percent, which is an increase of 17 percent over 2009 and 6 percent higher than 2007. The figures also showed a 15 percent increase over the December average from 2002 to 2010.

In other tourism news, the country hosted nearly 1 million Canadian and U.S. tourists in 2010, an 11 percent increase over 2009, according to immigration figures released Monday by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

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