Briefs: U.S. performance improves; Wyndham transforms Puerto Rico resort

U.S. PERFORMANCE IMPROVES: U.S. hotel performance surged from the previous week, driven by spring break travel, showing STR’s data through March 18.

  • Occupancy: 67.6% (+1.3%, -2.5%)
  • ADR: $167.04 (+8.9%, +23.9%)
  • RevPAR: $112.89 (+10.4%, +20.8%)

Among the top 25 markets, Boston reported the highest YOY increase in occupancy (+17.8% to 71.8%), while Houston witnessed the highest occupancy increase over 2019 (+9.6% to 72.5%). Las Vegas posted the most substantial ADR (+77.9% to $306.79) and RevPAR growth (+101.5% to $277.09) YOY. The market also saw the highest increases in metrics compared to 2019: ADR (+113.2% to $306.79) and RevPAR (+116.9% to $277.09). The steepest RevPAR declines from 2019 was registered in San Francisco (-39.7% to $139.73) and Philadelphia (-12.9% to $83.68). YOY, Miami saw the largest RevPAR decline (-8.9% to $252.69).

WYNDHAM TRANSFORMS PUERTO RICO RESORT: Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort, an upscale resort in Puerto Rico, is undergoing a multi-million-dollar refurbishment. The transformation of the oceanfront property, which was recently acquired by hospitality investment firm LionGrove, will be unveiled on May 18. Renovations will see enhancements to the 107 rooms and common areas, elevated landscaping, improvements to the ballroom and outdoor event spaces and upscale amenities. A restaurant is expected to open soon. The hotel includes two pools on different sides of the property, an al fresco pizza oven and a family pool in front of the restaurant terrace.

U.S. VISA WAIT TIMES STILL VERY HIGH: Interview wait times for first-time visitors to the U.S. is still very high, exceeding a year in the top 10 visa-requiring markets to the U.S., a new study from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) has revealed. “It’s completely unacceptable and sends a message to the world that international visitors — and their spending — aren’t welcome here,” said USTA President and CEO Geoff Freeman. Average current wait times for a first-time visa applicant for inbound travel are in Colombia (886 days), Mexico (587 days), Brazil (492 days), India (458 days) and China (77 days). The United States is expected to lose 2.6 million visitors and $7 million in spending in 2023 as a result of potential international travelers’ inability to obtain a visa, according to USTA. This makes it more difficult to achieve the Biden administration’s goal of attracting 90 million international visitors and $279 billion in spending per year by 2027. “Travel leaders worldwide are focusing on the economic opportunity of increased travel and passionately competing to attract global travelers, while the U.S. government has maintained roadblocks in the form of excessively long visa wait times and an outdated vaccination policy for entry,” Freeman said.

WTTC REPORT ON WATER FOOTPRINT: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), along with the Saudi Arabia-based Sustainable Tourism Global Center, have released new data on the total water usage of the global travel and tourism sector. The findings, launched at the United Nations in New York at the UN 2023 Water Conference, revealed that the travel and tourism sector’s entire water footprint was only 0.6% of the global water use, based on 2021 figures. When the sector was at its peak in 2019, its water footprint was 50% higher but still less than 1% of the global total at 0.9%. Most of the sector’s water use is indirect through its supply chain, with agriculture and food production constituting two-thirds of the sector’s entire water footprint. Between 2010 and 2019, the travel and tourism sector in Europe and Africa cut their direct water use by 8% and 6% respectively. The water intensity of travel and tourism per unit of GDP has declined since 2010 across direct and indirect use.

MARRIOTT’S MILESTONE 1,000TH HOTEL IN ASIA PAC: Marriott International, Inc. has announced the milestone opening of its 1,000th hotel in Asia Pacific. Marriott entered the region almost 50 years ago. The 80-story, 257-room Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne is the company’s 1,000th property in Asia Pacific, marking the brand’s first property in the city. Marriott plans to add 100 hotels in Asia Pacific, around two hotels every week. Twelve more properties across Marriott’s luxury brand portfolio are scheduled to open in the region by the end of this year. The company aims to add more than 30 properties this year under its Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Le Méridien, the Autograph Collection and more. Marriott aims to add 19 properties under its select service portfolio in the region, including seven hotels in the prefectures of Japan, eight in Greater China and two each in India and Indonesia.