Tourism hotels report slightly better Christmas occupancy

The tourism chamber said that hotel occupancy during the last half of December was 4 percent higher that the year before. The chamber based its report on a survey of hotel operators.

That two weeks is the beginning of the greatest tourism demand, noted the organization, the Cámara Nacional de Turismo. The chamber received reports from 113 hotels all over the country.

Five-star operations that cater to foreign tourists reported 78.4 percent occupancy, while hotels in the one-star category reported 82.4 percent, said the chamber.

Combined, all the hotels reported an occupancy of 70.6 percent, said the chamber.

According to a survey, some 63.3 percent of the visitors staying in hotels across the country were foreigners while 36.7 were Costa Ricans. Tourism officials reported that overall these figures were in line with historical data with foreigners predominating and driving the tourism economy, but the actual results varied regionally and by type of hotel. Many Costa Ricans do not visit hotels over the holidays. Many stay with relatives in vacation areas while others simply camp on the beach.

Regionally speaking, Costa Ricans occupied about half of the rooms in the beach hotels meanwhile they only rented one out of every five hotel rooms in the mountainous regions. However foreigners, for example, accounted for nearly 90 percent of occupants in hotels in the northern zone and the north Caribbean.

At the five-star Punta Islita Hotel south of Sámara on the Nicoya peninsula’s west coast, a room with a king size bed, air conditioner, ocean view, jacuzzi and minibar costs more than $500 per night. Whereas a double room at the one-star Hotel Zullymar in Tamarindo costs around $70 per night during high season.

Overall, 92 percent of the businesses questioned across the nation reported finishing the end of the year with either normal or high business results. One of the highest showings came in the beach areas where many hotels reported room occupation rates as high as 80 percent in the last two weeks of December.

Guanacaste seemed to fare the best, but the beach communities as a whole reported about 76 percent of their rooms filled during this time.

One call center,, that handles reservations for many of the major hotels around La Fortuna, reported in the period between Christmas and New Year’s day the 24 hotels it operates for had 95 percent occupancy.

One of the owners of the reservation center, Juan José Corella, told a reporter that his company registered 50 percent more sales than last year during the high season period. The owner attributed the success to better marketing strategies and partnerships with travel agencies in the foreign countries.

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