Taking Stock of the State of our Hotel Sector
As mentioned in one of my previous articles, the accommodation sector is perhaps one of the most important sectors in the tourism industry. When we think about it, one the most important questions potential visitors always ask is about the cost and type of accommodations [hotels] he or she will sleep in. After all, this is the place that they are going to be putting their heads down for the next few days or in some cases weeks. In reality it is a home away from home.

While most visitors certainly do not expect all the amenities that they will leave behind, they however expect some basics standards like a clean room, friendly staff, good dependable services such as water and power and a safe environment. Of course all the other amenities are certainly welcomed in this sector and as a general rule the more services and amenities provided the more a proprietor could ask for his rooms.

Therefore lets again take stock of the state of our hotel sector. For too long Belize boasted well over 400 registered hotels with the Belize Tourism Board . However, it was not until two years ago that some very interesting statistics about our hotel industry emerged. The national average room size of our accommodation sector is 10 rooms .This represents well over 70% of our total stock. Last available data puts the national occupancy at 27%, well below other countries in the region. However of interest to note is that 9% of our hotels in Belize account for 50% of the country's total room sales and 47% of Belize's hotels sell only 8% of the total rooms available. Clearly this shows that only a small potion of Belize's hotels are doing most of the business and the vast majority are having occupancy rates far below the accepted average.

One may conclude that perhaps our hotels are too expensive thus the reason for low national occupancy. Well data suggests just the opposite. In fact the more expensive and higher quality properties ,well exceed the national average. An analysis shows that these properties in fact averaged out at 37 rooms, well above the national average of 10. Generally it seems that it is the larger and higher quality properties that are saleable to the international tourism marketplace. Certainly there are good reasons for being in favour of small scale tourism ,where Belizeans could dominate. The fact is that much of Belize's room supply is not of a quality that matches with market demand. The cause for this and low averages is a very complex issue and I will discuss some causes for this and offer some possible solutions in my next article. Until then... Tourism we make it happen !

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