SAN JUAN -- While some Caribbean destinations report lower hotel occupancy figures this year because of the soft economy and Iraq conflict, Puerto Rico properties reported April occupancies topping 81% in San Juan hotels and 74% elsewhere.

Those statistics came from the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. and the Caribbean Hotel Association.

Jose Suarez, PRTC executive director, said the figures point to a "very productive year" and result from a "proactive approach in forging strategic initiatives with our travel partners."

PRTC's peak-season average hotel occupancy of 78.2% was 3.7% higher than the same period a year ago.

"Puerto Rico tourism in the long term is very promising," Suarez said.

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