The List?n Diario newspaper reports that hotel occupancy is below expected levels so far this winter season. It is said that the increase in the number of hotel rooms, up from 38,000 in 1997 to almost 42,000 at year’s end of 1998 has had a negative effect on the occupancy rates all throughout the country. The List?n Diario reports that in the first three weeks of the month of December, the start of the winter season, very few hotels have been able to post an occupancy of more than 75%. The winter season occupancy level is usually at a high of 90%. Press spokesman for the Hotel & Restaurant Association, Manuel Quiterio Cede?o said that many hotels are posting occupancies of 60 and 70%. He said that the low cannot be solely attributed to the negative press Hurricane Georges generated and that there is much the DR can do to improve the tourism product.