High energy and oil costs have directly impacted Jamaica's hotels, according to the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, which announced it will support an occupancy surcharge intended to help its members combat the rising costs.

Effective Dec. 15 (the official start of the peak winter season), hotels in Jamaica will have the option of adding a surcharge to their nightly room rates, with the amount to be determined by each property.

 

Hotels have been advised to base the amount on market assessment and cost structure, but a maximum surcharge of $10 per room, per night, is recommended, according to the JHTA.

Wayne Cummings, JHTA president, said that the ever-increasing price of crude oil posed a threat to the profitability of hotel businesses.

"We have been experiencing increases in the price of a barrel of approximately 53% since January 2007," Cummings said. He recommended that the surcharge be removed in the event that oil prices come down.

The Jamaica Tourist Board is working to publicize surcharge details to travelers and industry representatives as quickly as possible.

"With the winter season imminent, we are making every effort to inform visitors via our partners about this surcharge prior to travel," said Basil Smith, director of tourism.

Jamaica's official Web site at www.visitjamaica.com will contain an announcement regarding the surcharge; in addition, the JTB will issue alerts to tour operator and travel agent partners.

"As JHTA members respond, we will communicate further with the trade," Smith said.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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