he sense that tourism is picking up is now official. The tourism chamber released the results of a survey that supports the anecdotal evidence from major tourism areas.
Garland Baker reported two days before Christmas that tourism in the Pacific was on the upswing.
“The good news is that, places are full of energy and tourists abound,” he wrote. “’The streets are bustling much more so than last year, and it seems tourists have arrived earlier too, way before Christmas.’ said one property manager,” he added.
Baker had just taken a driving tour of Pacific beach communities.
On top of that real estate brokers in Playas del Coco and in the central Pacific have been saying for several weeks that they were being flooded with work. The operator of a major brokerage firm in Playas del Coco said Tuesday that all agents had been out showing property all day.
The survey by the Cámeras Nacional de Turismo assesses expectations, not reality. Still the responses by tourism operators are based on the number of their reservations and activity as compared to the 2012-2013 high season. The survey, done in November and the beginning of December, involved 205 businesses ranging from hotels, tour operators, car rental agencies and restaurants. They were asked to assess their business expectations through March.
The chamber said that 59 percent of the respondents said that the perception of the demand in the current high season was either better or much better. Some 34 per cent said the demand was about the same, and only 7 percent said worse.
The response was not uniform. While 69 percent of the tour agencies said that the demand was better, only 33 percent of the restaurants did.
Despite the perception that tourism is improving, 70 percent of the respondents said they would not be hiring new employees for the high season. But few, an average of 2.9 percent, said they would be cutting personnel. Of course, some of the firms do not rely on seasonal help. The hospitality industry was the highest where 30 percent said they would be hiring.
The high tourism season generally runs until Easter Week. This is the bread and butter time for this type of business, although there is another surge in the North American summer.
Those involved in the industry have been hoping that the brutal cold spell in the United States and Canada would generate more tourism and perhaps residents. The real estate industry also sees the high season as a profitable period.