Occupancy figures released by St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) for 2022 were most welcome. What they show is that stayover tourism’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis continued last year with a combined rate of 64.2% for hotels and timeshare resorts compared to 46.9% in 2021.
However, the level of pre-pandemic 2019 (77.2%) is yet to be reached and the same goes for 2016 (69.1%) before the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma a year later. The available inventory was considerably reduced at that time and obviously impacted the percentages going forward as it gradually grew again.
In absolute terms there were an average 2,736 daily occupied rooms in 2016, 2,134 in 2019, 1,508 in 2021 and 2,182 in 2022. This indicates that there is still a way to go before the dominant hospitality industry will be fully restored.
Just as example, Curaçao and Aruba reported occupancy rates of respectively 70.7% and 75% in 2022. On the other hand, the Caribbean average was 60.7%.
When it comes to average daily rate (ADR), Curaçao’s US $206.32 was considerably lower than the whole region’s $290.60 and Aruba’s $309.04. Regarding revenue per room, they noted amounts of respectively $145.84, $176.46, and $231.89.
Room occupancy and air arrival numbers thus tell only part of the story. The added value of each traveller to the destination is also an important factor.
Promoting so-called quality tourism therefore remains significant in term of earnings, as is providing enough attractive and worthwhile options for guests to spend money on. It’s all about enhancing the visitor experience.