CARIBBEAN tourism fared well in 2016 and industry stakeholders are generally upbeat about the year ahead, despite the fact that many hoteliers were forced to adjust their high performance expectations for 2016 as the year progressed due to unforeseen events.
Announcing the results of the second annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Industry Performance and Outlook Study, Frank Comito, director general and CEO of the private sector association, stated that "more than four out of five (81 per cent) hoteliers have an encouraging outlook for tourism in 2017."
"Hoteliers entered 2016 with high performance expectations but these were tempered as a combination of unanticipated factors surfaced during the year," said Comito. These events included a warmer than usual winter in the region's primary feeder markets, Canadian and UK exchange rates, Brexit, the threat of Zika, and political and economic certainty in parts of the world, according to the survey respondents.
Despite this, the profitability picture improved over the previous year, with most hotels registering a net profit in 2016. Seventy-eight per cent of respondents reported a net profit while 22 per cent reported a net loss. Looking ahead, in 2017 more than two-thirds (67 per cent) anticipate an increase in revenue, and 56 per cent expect a slight improvement in profits.
It was encouraging to note that about 55 per cent of hotels also increased capital expenditures in 2016, with a quarter of those investing more than 10 per cent over what they did in 2015. Although room occupancy decreased for just more than half (51 per cent) of the reporting hotels, a notable proportion (29 per cent) reported an increase in occupancy. More hoteliers are optimistic for 2017, with two-thirds expecting an increase in occupancy.
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