San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Investments to Lessen Hotel Room Shortage

COSTA Rica’s hotels will turn awayapproximately 39,000 tourists during the2005-2006 tourism high season becauseof a shortage of rooms, according to estimatesfrom the National TourismChamber (CANATUR) – although help inreducing that shortage may be on the wayin the form of new hotel investment.Hotels in major tourism areas turnedaway up to 40% of tourists this past highseason for lack of space, the daily LaNación reported. The construction of newhotel rooms is simply not keeping pacewith the growing demand.The number of visitors to Costa Ricagrew by 15.19% last year, and is expectedto reach 16% this year, exceeding the estimatemade in the 2002-2012 NationalTourism Plan, designed to help the countryregulate its tourism development.Meanwhile, fewer new rooms arebeing added annually than the 1,813 predictedin the plan. An average of 1,531rooms were built each year in 2002-2004– a total deficit of 846.However, according to the daily LaRepública, plans for 12 new hotels, representing$160 million in investment, havebeen finalized in the first six months ofthis year and will help diminish thatdeficit. Two hotels have already beenbuilt, totaling 95 rooms, and three are projectedfor completion by early 2007, comprising570 more rooms.These figures do not include existinghotels that are planning on expanding, suchas Punta Cocles, a hotel in the Caribbeancoastal town of Puerto Viejo that plans onadding 200 rooms thanks to new investors.In addition, three foreign hotel companies– Hyatt, Jaguar Resorts Inc., andMicrotel Inns & Suites – are studyingCosta Rica as a possible new market.

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