Small inn owners expect challenges in the new year
The Puerto Rico Association of Small Inn Owners and Tourism are expecting challenges in 2022, for which they will try to encourage a greater movement of non-resident travelers to the regions outside of San Juan and increase the presence of the group and convention segment in the Porta del Sol and Porta Caribe.
“This year  will be the best year of the past decade for the Small Inn Owners association, as well as for many large and small inns throughout Puerto Rico,” said Xavier Ramírez, president of the trade group.
“In the month of December, the occupancy in some of our paradores may exceed by 40% the levels registered in 2019, which so far, has been the best year for tourism in Puerto Rico,” Ramírez said.
He added that the pace of bookings for the first quarter of 2022 has slowed somewhat, but they continue, and he believes that it will improve, once the COVID-19 outbreak is controlled at the local and national level.
He pointed out that in the second half of December he has seen a drop in the flow of calls and searches of up to 30% different from previous months.
“On the positive side, the Christmas weekend performed as usual, with a few cancellations for the Christmas period. Those who cancelled kept the reservation and moved it for a later date,” said Ramírez.
“We’re keeping the New Year’s Eve celebrations, although they will only be for guests and following the strict health protocols that characterize us,” added Ramírez.
Christian Rivera, co-owner of the Parador Guánica 1929, said his hotel and several others have been operating below their maximum capacity, given the shortage of employees.
“Our sector continues to set an example within the hospitality industry, while we carry out a broad campaign promoting vaccination among our employees and their families, and promote health protocols among our guests,” said Rivera, vice president of the Association.
The Boquemar, Combate Beach Resort, El Buen Café, Guanica 1929 and Villas Sotomayor small inns still have rooms available for the Christmas season, which runs until mid-January.
“We’re trust there will be a broad recovery in reservations over the next six weeks,” said Ramírez.
“Puerto Rico has many elements in its favor, including the high level of vaccination on the island, where most of the people support and practice the indicated health protocols, and that the Tourism Company and Discover Puerto Rico have the tools, along with highly trained professionals with the commitment to spur another tourism year equal to or better than 2021,” said Ramírez.