|W Hotel in Vieques|
According to numbers released by the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., between July and December 2010 some 4,823 reservations were made to stay at the island municipality’s hotels. That is 250 fewer room nights sold versus the same year-ago six-month period.
The island’s occupancy rate during the first semester of fiscal ’11 stood at 34.6 percent, peaking in July, which historically is a very busy month fueled by a number of local holidays. During the full fiscal ’10, the island’s occupancy rate averaged 41.4 percent.
When looking at the entire year, the agency’s statistics show that 11,606 room nights were sold during fiscal ’10, down 17.7 percent from the 14,106 visitors who stayed at the Isla Nena during the prior fiscal year.
The radical drop likely had to do with the transportation problems that have plagued the laid-back island — which hoteliers have repeatedly said are a threat to their business — coupled with the economic recession that has not spared the tourism industry. Several hotels, including the Amapola Inn and Tavern, have closed in the past two years.
In all, Vieques has about 500 rooms available for use at dozens of small hotels. The statistics do not include the numbers generated by the W Hotel Retreat & Spa, which opened in March 2010 after renovating the property occupied by the Martineau Bay until its closing in 2007.
The swanky W Retreat is entering its second year of operations with some 65,000 confirmed guests in 2011, nearly twice the occupancy it had in the first 10 months of operations, General Manager Jonathan Heath said earlier this year.
However, it must be noted that the Tourism Co.’s figures show that the number of room nights available have consistently dropped during the last four years, evidencing the fact that many hotels have succumbed to the economy.
Available room nights dropped by 6.9 percent between fiscal ’10 and ’09. In turn, fiscal ’09’s available room nights were 13.1 percent below the prior fiscal year.