The tourism industry in Puerto Rico was among the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The cruise industry, which is an important component of tourism on the island, was grounded to a halt in the month of March. Restrictions on international travel led to an enormous decrease in the number of tourists that the island receives.
Hotel registrations for 2020 totaled 978,071. Compared to 2019, there was a decrease of 1.28 million registrations, or 57%. The last 3 months of 2020, which are the high season for tourism on the island, saw a total of 168,566 total registrations. Compared to the high season in 2019, there were 367,000 fewer registrations, or a decrease of 68.5%.
Non-resident hotel registrations totaled 673,661. Compared to 2019, non-resident registrations decreased by 58.2%. Non-resident registrations made up 68.9% of all registrations, a decrease in their share of the total of 2.1% relative to the previous year. This shows that the decrease in non-resident hotel registrations was greater than the decrease in resident hotel registrations. Give the current state of travel restrictions in the United States, this was to be expected.
The average daily rate in 2020 was $151.5 per night. This was $10, or 6%, lower than in 2019. The average daily rate for the last 3 months of 2020 was $130.2. Compared to 2019 in the same period, the ADR decreased by $25, or 16.3%.
The average occupancy rate in 2020 was 35.6%. This was 31.47 percentage points lower than the average rate for 2019. For the last 3 months of the year, the average occupancy rate was 38%, 24 percentage points lower than in 2019.
2021 is poised to become a comeback year for tourism in the island, particularly the second half of the year. With President Biden’s announcement that vaccines will be available for all adults starting in May, this could significantly speed up the rate at which people are vaccinated in the United States, which is where most non-resident registrations and tourism come from. Expectations of growth in 2021 and the recent stimulus package are also welcome news for the industry.