The quote from Trump was from an article in the New York Times about the decline in the hotel industry due to the economy. As a hotel operator myself, I am carefully monitoring the industry to see any signs of what to expect in the future from foreign travelers. Obviously if Panama continues to boom it may be one of the few bright spots in this part of the world for business, but leisure travelers may be put off by the long distance and high cost of air travel.
Excerpt: High gasoline prices and a slumping economy have put a damper on leisure and business travel. Airlines have been cutting service and raising fares. While new hotels open, occupancy rates are falling across much of the United States.
“We’re really on the verge,” said Charles Snyder of Smith Travel Research, a firm based in Hendersonville, Tenn. “It hasn’t turned into a hotel recession just yet, but we’re certainly keeping an eye on the economy.”
But business in particular areas — like Maui in Hawaii, which is almost entirely dependent on air travel — has “already fallen off a cliff,” said John Arabia, an analyst for Green Street Advisors, a real estate research and consulting firm in Newport Beach, Calif. Occupancy at the island’s hotels has dropped to 63 percent from 85 percent last year, according to Hospitality Advisors, a research firm in Honolulu. One reason was the demise of two airlines serving Maui, Aloha and ATA, this spring.
Other tourist markets, like Las Vegas and Virginia Beach, Mr. Arabia added, are teetering on the edge.