Different Perpectives on the Tourism Industry

Half full or half empty?On April 16th, the high season for tourism officially closed here in Puerto Rico. According to the Tourism Company, Puerto Rico finished the year slightly above the occupancy rate for the previous high season 2005-2006. Hehe, aren't statistics fun?

According to the Tourism Company, during the high season, which starts December 16th, of 2006-2007, the occupancy rate was 82%. Out of a potential 957,714 room nights available, 782,784 nights were taken. However, due to excessive room remodeling in progress there were 95,784 less room nights available. Actually during the 2005-2006 high season, out of a possible 1,053,498 room nights available, 852,796 room nights were taken, resulting in a 81% occupancy.

Less is Less

While one can always argue that there are two ways to view these numbers (either half full or half empty), it would be hard to disagree that less is less. Less tourists means less revenues, less room nights means less revenues for the lodging industry. From this half empty perspective, it makes it hard to understand how this is good news. However, according to Terestella González, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company: "Estas son noticias positivas que demuestran que aunque nuestra economía se encuentra pasando por momentos dificiles, son sectores como el Turismo los que brindan optimismo por su estabilidad Y constancia en su crecimiento". Which roughly translated (very roughly) means: "This is positive news (doublespeak). While our economy is in the crapper (irrelevant,...,I thought this was a global market? According to recent reports the global economy is booming or here or here), the tourism industry gives us reason for hope with its stability and growth (more doublespeak...)."

More is More

During the high season, the average room rate rose 5.2% during the first four months of this year (2007). In February, the average room rate was $205.59 in 2007, compared to $194.30 during February 2006. In April 2007, the average rate was $188.21 versus $177.84 in April 2006.

I'll have to admit that economic is not my strongest subject, but when something costs more to buy, but in general, the amount of money I have to spend stays the same (or is growing less rapidly), that means I have less money to spend on that thing. If we exclude the exploding debt most families are carrying and in general living way beyond their means, typically that means that as a consumer most families have some tough decisions to make. Do I buy less food or do we still go to Palmas this weekend? Hmm....

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