20002000 Travel News ArchiveNewsTravel

Hotel Association wants freeze on hotel construction

In an interview for the Listín Diario, Ramón Prieto, president of the National Hotel & Restaurant Association (Asonahores) wants the government to put a halt on permits for hotel construction in the DR. He said that the present hotel inventory would permit a 50% increase in the number of arrivals. He said that the new hotels that have opened have not positively affected the number of arrivals. Growth of the tourism sector last year (September 1999-September 2000) was 16.1%, according to the Central Bank. Prieto said that the organization is trying to promote a freeze on the construction of hotel rooms in Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo. Only niche market hotels should be allowed, he said. He said that they favor new hotel construction in newer areas, such as Monte Cristi, Samana, Barahona, Jarabacoa and Constanza. "If we could capture higher paying segments of the market, in two years we could again accept the construction of more hotel rooms," he said. He told the newspaper that Asonahores’ figures show that the increase in occupancy for November was 4.7%. He said occupancy in 1999 was 67%, and this year it should be 69%. "With 30% of the hotels empty, we could accept a 50% increase in the number of arrivals without having to build more hotels," he said. He said that the expected growth should come from the French and US markets. (15 December 2000)