The occupancy rate of the nation’s hotels did not hit a 14-year low in January, the Tourism Bureau said on Sunday, rejecting claims made in a report in the Chinese-language China Times.
The newspaper had reported that the average hotel occupancy rate in January dipped to 52.12 percent, a 14-year low.
It also said that the bureau had expunged the data recorded in January after a reporter for the newspaper had asked about the lackluster performance.
The China Times report said there were 12,502 hotels and hostels in January, with a total of 235,591 rooms, a rapid increase from five years ago, and that industry experts believed the normal average occupancy rate for hotels nationwide should be more than 60 percent.
A recent decision by Leofoo Tourism Group to cancel a hotel deal in Tainan after investing NT$60 million (US$2.05 million) in the project was a sign that some hoteliers in central, southern and eastern Taiwan might be having a hard time sustaining operations and are seeking to sell them, the paper said.
Even though more Southeast Asian tourists visited the nation last year, they only partially offset the losses caused by the decrease in Chinese tourists, it said.
The bureau said the report was inaccurate and denied ordering January’s data expunged.
“Hotel occupancy rate and related data are compiled through the voluntary reports filed by the hotels. Starting last year, the bureau only releases the data each quarter. As such, no data have been published for this year on our Web site,” the bureau said.
Information so far shows that January’s occupancy rate was 58.23 percent, down 1.59 percentage points compared with the same time last year, the bureau said, adding that the final numbers would be included in its first quarterly report.
The shifting time for the Lunar New Year holiday is a major factor affecting hotel occupancy rates in January and February, the bureau said, adding that last year the holiday was in January.
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