17 pct. fewer rooms sold due to hotel closures
The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands reported a 79.77-percent average occupancy rate among 11 member-hotels for April. The figure reflects a 5-percent decrease for HANMI hotels compared to April 2018.
However, HANMI chair Gloria Cavanagh noted that due to an overall reduction in available room nights, the actual number of rooms sold in April 2019 compared to April 2018 dropped 17 percent, as 54,988 of 68,935 available room nights sold in April 2019, compared to 66,500 of 78,899 available room nights sold over the same period last year.
The decline in available hotel rooms is largely due to the closure of Mariana Resort & Spa following the non-renewal of its public land lease and the continued closure of Coral Ocean Golf Resort following Super Typhoon Yutu.
“We are now at 80 percent average occupancy, which by industry standards, is the bottom threshold for long-term sustainability. It’s not a good place to be for CNMI revenue generation or for investors,” said Cavanagh. “One of the quickest ways to improve our destination product and the economy is to finalize negotiations on new leases for Fiesta Resort & Spa, which has only two years left to operate, and Hyatt Regency Saipan, which has two and a half years. We want to finish these negotiations with the Department of Public Lands. We applaud IPI seeking to draw brand-name hotels, but this will take years to build. We have to ensure that our only international brand name, Hyatt, remains, so not to lose prestige in the eyes of potential visitors. Mariana Country Club closed its doors this week, and without proper maintenance, the degradation to the golf course in just two or three weeks will make it necessary for any investor to start all over. We need a workable negotiation process to move these leases forward, faster.”
Average room rates were at $135.00, slightly lower than $138.97 in April 2018.
Hotels included in HANMI’s monthly statistical reports are Aqua Resort Club, Aquarius Beach Tower, Century Hotel, GrandVrio Resort Saipan, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Kanoa Resort Saipan, Kensington Hotel Saipan, Laolao Bay Golf & Resort, Saipan World Resort, and Pacific Islands Club Saipan.
“One of the other priorities for the hotel industry right now is working toward the processing of new CW visas to ensure an adequate workforce in the next fiscal year to support the tourism economy,” Cavanagh added. “Yes, we need more visitors, but equally so, we need the workers to take care of our visitors when they get here, whether at hotels or other accommodations, restaurants, tours, or other services.”
HANMI was established in 1985 as a professional forum for the hospitality industry of the Marianas. HANMI also makes regular charitable donations to support non-profit organizations and tourism-related government projects. (PR)