Caribbean Tourism Business: The Big Picture

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STR's findings about Caribbean tourism.
STR’s findings about Caribbean tourism.

Figures don’t lie, but liars figure, right? Not necessarily. At the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Marketplace at Atlantis Resort & Casino on Paradise Island, I was impressed by STR’s director of client services Newton Kam’s, unbiased, tell-it-like-it-is summarization of STR’s findings about Caribbean tourism. Sure, STR’s numbers are based on hotels representing only 22 percent of the 231,000 rooms in the Caribbean region, so figures from hotels with greater revenues and/or numbers of rooms are probably overrepresented. However, I would argue that these are the properties that travel agents are most likely to book, so it’s their numbers that affect your business. Here are some highlights:

  • “The Caribbean hotel industry reported record-breaking results in two of the three key performance metrics year-to-date through November 2015: Average daily rate in the market was $222.65 (up 4.7 percent) and revenue per available room was $154.40 (up 7.4 percent). The 69.3 percent absolute occupancy did not set a record, but it’s up there.
  • Total room revenues, $3.2 billion, shot up 8.9 percent. That’s a record, too.
  • When comparing average hotel rates among tropical resort destinations, the Caribbean region is second only to Hawaii.
  • Comparing the RevPar for the Turks and Caicos with that of the Dominican Republic—or even with Bermuda or Cayman Islands—is even more interesting than the occupancy rates (notice that two of the top three are islands that don’t require passports for U.S. citizens). But remember: These do not represent across-the-board rates; they are averages within the wide spectrum existing on every island. There are inexpensive ways to stay in the Turks and Caicos, and there are ultra-luxurious places to bunk down in the Dominican Republic (Amanera, anyone?).
  • STR’s number-crunching points to a 5.1 percent rise in ADR and a 6.5 percent rise in RevPar for 2016.
  • Finally, there are 9,667 rooms in the construction pipeline. Now, that’s very impressive, because Baha Mar, being 97 percent complete, is not included in that figure.

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