Hotel operators report a slower Christmas season

The season may have been Christmas, but there was plenty of room at the inn, at least according to a hotel industry survey.

The Cámera Costarricense de Hoteles said that a survey of 46 of its members determined that occupancy reached 65.5 percent during the last days of 2012, the start of the high season.

The percentage is about 4.5 percent less occupancy than in the same period of 2011, said the chamber. Even hotels at the beach reported less business. The chamber said that these hotels reported 84 percent occupancy at the end of 2012 compared to 97 percent in the same period of 2011.

Hotels not at the beach and not in the metro area had an occupancy rate of 70 percent, said the chamber. That percentage is off by 9 points from 2011.

The Christmas period is not a good time for urban hotels in any year, and last year, the hotels there that responded to the survey said the occupancy rate was 45 percent, down just 3 points lower than 2011.

The responding hotels may not be representative of the entire industry, but they clearly show a trend. Usually hotel rooms are scarce during the Christmas week at beach hotels. Not so last year, the survey results said.

In addition, just 26 percent of the hotels that responded said that the tourism activities were better in 2012. 39 percent said there was less activity than in 2011, and 30.4 percent said the activity was about the same.

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