Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

During presentations at the recent Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Nassau, two different sets of data testified to the growth of hotel product and the rise in demand to the Caribbean in 2015.

Hospitality research firm STR said that Caribbean hotels and resorts posted record rates and revenue in 2015, with the average daily rate (ADR) totaling $228, a 4.7% jump over 2014, and revenue per available room (RevPar) at $157.74, a 7.4% increase.

The ADR and RevPar figures, the highest ever reported by Caribbean hotels to STR over a one-year period, reflected data collected from about 22% of the region’s 230,828 rooms.

Expedia, meanwhile, reported a 20% year-over-year increase in demand for the Caribbean during Q3, via the company's platforms.

STR’s figures were spread across 2015 and did not break down specific markets that were the runaway winners in terms of rates, revenue and growth.

However, Expedia’s data did, specifically for the Q3 period, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic was named the top producing market, with more than 15% year-over-year growth.

No surprise there. While total visitors figures for 2015 have not yet been announced, tourist arrivals to the D.R. in 2014 increased 9.6 % over 2013, to 5.1 million, according to figures from the Dominican Central Bank. More than 60% of air arrivals in the D.R. landed at the Punta Cana International Airport, which can accommodate up to 6,500 passengers daily.

The bulk of the country’s 70,000-plus hotel rooms are in the Punta Cana area, representing dozens of hotel brands, many of them upscale, all-inclusive resorts, which are a significant factor in the country’s explosive growth.

New entrants include Chic All Exclusive Resorts by Royalton on Punta Cana’s Uvero Alto Beach, AMResorts’ Now Garden Punta Cana and Club Med Punta Cana’s adults-only Zen Oasis.

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana opens on Uvero Alto Beach  on May 1, followed by Riu Hotels and Resorts’ Riu Republica in June, an all-inclusive, adults-only resort on the Macao beachfront.

While Punta Cana was the top producing market, according to Expedia’s data for Q3, other in-demand markets included San Juan, Aruba, and Montego Bay, Jamaica, followed by Antigua, Barbados and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Official visitor numbers for the Caribbean region for 2015 will be released by the Caribbean Tourism Organization later this week, and they include a country-by-country breakdown of air and cruise arrivals.

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