Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Tourism in Tailspin
The occupancy rate of San Diego hotels plunged to 64.5% in April from 74.4% in April of 2008, according to Smith Travel Research. That was a 13.3% drop. Revenue per available room (called RevPAR) plunged 27.2% from a year earlier. Other California tourism destinations did better in RevPAR, but were down: Orange County down 18.7%, Los Angeles down 25.5% and San Francisco down 18.2%. Chicago had the largest April drop in RevPAR: 34.5%, notes Jerry Morrison, La Jolla hotel guru. For the year to date through April, San Diego occupancy was down 13.3% and revenue per available room was down 22.7%. "Year to date, New York has the dubious distinction of leading the pack and is down 30.7%" in RevPAR, says Morrison.