MIAMI, United States. – Tourism in Cuba had one of its worst years in 2022, as demonstrated by the low hotel occupancy rate reflected in the government’s official statistics.
According to the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI, by its Spanish acronym), the island barely registered a 15.6% hotel occupancy rate, a figure that, according to economist Pedro Monreal, speaks of the low profitability of the sector.
“The official statistic indicates that, with a very low occupancy rate of 15.6%, hotel activity in Cuba was a ‘bankrupt’ business,” according to the expert on his Twitter account.
According to Monreal, the hotel occupancy rate is one of the indicators that show just how far the island ranks when compared to other tourism destinations in the Caribbean region.
“The low hotel occupancy rate in Cuba was much lower than that of other beach destinations in Mexico (63.9% occupancy rate), and the Dominican Republic, with rates above 70% in Punta Cana and Romana-Bayahibe in 2022,” he affirmed.
For the economist, “the problem of such a low hotel occupancy rate of 15.6% in Cuba is not just because it is at a disadvantage regarding neighboring competitors, but instead it is because its breakeven point is lower than the average, which in the Caribbean is 52%.”
The expert also questioned the imbalance between the hotel business itself and the excessive investment in the sector.
“Faced with such a low hotel occupancy rate in Cuba that is not compatible with obtaining benefits, one must ask two questions: a) Where did the money come from to cover such hotel loses? And: b) Where is the logic in insisting on such excessive hotel investments?”
In spite of the serious crisis that the country is enduring, and the poor results obtained from Tourism, island authorities continue to emphasize hotel investments. Its objective: to welcome 3.5 million visitors in 2023.
Statistics published in El Economista de Cuba portal and disseminated by the state press indicate that in January of this year, the country registered 246,000 tourists, more than the 86,424 that came to Cuba during the same period in 2022.
Nonetheless, that number is still insufficient if the goal is to welcome over three million visitors, especially if we keep in mind that this is high tourism season in Cuba.
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