NEW YORK - The hotel business will remain healthy next year, but gains will come more slowly than in 2000, according to the hospitality consulting firm PKF Consulting.

The average daily room rate will climb 3.32%, to $124.95, after an estimated 3.6% rise this year, PKF said. Hotel occupancy in major cities will average 71.8%, up from an estimated 71.4%, the firm predicted.

"It's not the kind of growth we saw in the post-recession '90s, but it's significantly ahead of inflation and very healthy," said John Fox, a senior vice president at PKF.

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