Year-end occupancy was 72 percent, chamber says

The high season so far has been a grim one for the hospitality industry. The Cámera Nacional de Turismo said Monday that average occupancy for weeks around Christmas averaged 72.1 percent.

The chamber said it surveyed 140 establishments during the first days of January and sought information on occupancy from Dec. 13.

This is the bread-and-butter period for hotels, but the occupancy ranged from a dismal 60 percent on the Caribbean coast to  77 percent in Puntarenas and Monteverde.

The chamber tried to put a happy face on the date by noting that the average is the best in the last four years for the period.  Hospitality operators expected more based on a survey of expectations conducted by the chamber before Christmas.

About 36 percent of the tourists were Costa Rican, according to the survey, the chamber said. Most preferred Guanacaste and the central and south Pacific, according to the data.

The chamber said that the percentage of tourists was consistent with highway infrastructure, promotional offers and the general preference for Costa Ricans to want to go to the beach. The Caldera highway has been a major  improvement on transportation from the Central Valley to the Pacific beaches.

The chamber said that 58 percent of the hospitality respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the occupancy and just 19 percent said they were not satisfied.

The hotel occupancy does not reflect the actual number of Costa Ricans who went on vacation. Many stay with family at the vacation spots and others just put up tents and live on the beaches.

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