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CBRE says it expects Canadian hotels will recover only slightly from the COVID-19 pandemic this year as travel restrictions linger.

The commercial real estate company says it expects Canadian hotel occupancy to hover around 38 per cent, up from 33 per cent last year and down from 65 per cent in 2019.

Occupancy typically sits between 70 and 80 per cent in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax/Dartmouth, Montreal and Ottawa, but CBRE believes it will range from 31 to 37 per cent in those cities this year.

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CBRE says the average daily rate of a hotel booking will reach $131 this year, up from $129 last year but down from $164 in 2019.

It predicts the most affordable daily rate of cities surveyed will be $101 in Regina and the most expensive will be $155 in Vancouver.

CBRE says the slight increases will be caused by an uptick in demand for domestic and leisure travel, but the industry will remain hampered by border closures, vaccination rates and a lack of in-person meetings and conferences.

Once borders open, CBRE warns that the industry’s recovery could be impacted again by Canadians, who may find domestic travel less attractive.

“People have been at home for a year and a half, they’ve done the road trips,” said CBRE Hotels director Nicole Nguyen, in a release.

“The moment they’re vaccinated and can move around freely there is a strong chance that they will reschedule the all-inclusive trip to somewhere sunny that they had to cancel, will hop on a plane for Europe or head across the border.

“We may have a hard time keeping them at home.”

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