Tourism officials and hoteliers to discuss occupancy rates

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Hoteliers on the island are to meet with top officials in the tourism sector, next week, to discuss concerns over the decrease in hotel occupancy rates, along with other concerns.

Both sides will be comparing notes about recent figures released regarding hotel occupancy rates.

The Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association (AHTA) has released figures, which differ from information coming out of the Ministry of Tourism.

However, Chairman of the AHTA Alex DeBrito re-emphasised that an increase in tourist arrivals does not always translate to an increase in hotel occupancy.

“It does not mean all the time that all arriving tourists will go to a hotel. We have now so many options. They can go to another island; they can rent houses. There are a lot of options for arrivals these days,” DeBrito said.

He said one also has to take into consideration as more hotels upgrade, creating more rooms, some properties will suffer.

“I believe that there are different reasons for this, not one as some people are pointing out – the situation in England with the devaluation of the pound, the US elections and the Zika situation,” the chairman said.

The hoteliers are also concerned about year-round marketing and the slow summer period, based on projections.

“We need to sit together to anticipate the problem and react before it is too late,” DeBrito said.

The AHTA chairman is also worried that hotels may have to slash their prices during the summer months.

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