Sequestration, European debt, the closure of banks in Cyprus, the debt ceiling. Judging by the number of black swan events making media waves, one might think the world is ending. But speakers during the first day of the 25th annual Hunter Hotel Conference on Wednesday said the U.S. hotel sector is still alive and kicking - for now, at least. Hotel performance thus far continues to chug along despite dour economic news, speakers said during a statistics session at the conference. During January and February of this year, U.S. hotels recorded $16.6 billion in room revenue, the highest level ever, said Jan Freitag, senior VP of global development at STR. “It’s certainly a very, very great start to the year, and we’ll probably continue to break records,” he said. Through the first 11 weeks of 2013, occupancy and revenue per available room have notched year-over-year increases during each week, Freitag said. And average daily rate also has been up in all but one of those weeks. The upcycle being enjoyed by the industry might last a while, Freitag noted. He told the crowd that the previous upcycle lasted for 65 months; the U.S. is 30 months into the current cycle. “For the next year or two, we think life is pretty good,” he said. Get the full story at