January 24, 2012
January 25, 2012
Early signs of improvement in tourism are evident, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told hundreds of delegates attending the Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association Caribbean Marketplace conference on Sunday.
Organizers of the event, which is being held at Atlantis Paradise Island and is running January 22-24, are expecting one of the best turnouts ever of buyers and sellers.
This includes 679 representatives of supplier companies, including hotels, attractions, destination management companies, tourism groups and transportation companies, as well as 331 individuals representing buyers such as tour operators, wholesalers and online intermediaries.
This year is a notable anniversary for the regional and local tourism sector. It is the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, of which The Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) is a founding member. BHA celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. This year is also the 30th anniversary of Caribbean Marketplace event.
In accounting for his optimistic outlook for the tourism industry, the Prime Minister noted that The Bahamas has recorded an “uptick” in arrivals since last November.
“By a number of measures, this past December was particularly good for the 14 major Nassau and Paradise Island hotels,” said Ingraham.
“For the second year in a row since the Great Recession room occupancies, average daily rates and room rates were up last year. Perhaps most encouraging has been that visitors are spending longer periods with us and reporting improved levels of customer satisfaction.”
He believes the turnaround is a result of the country’s “aggressive action” taken to revamp its tourism product during the slowdown, so as to be better prepared to benefit from the recovery as it occurs.
The Prime Minister pointed to infrastructural improvements, such as the $410-million three-phased upgrade and expansion project of major Lynden Pindling International Airport and associated road improvements.
“The four-lane Airport Gateway together with other road construction will make travel from the airport to our tourism centres in Cable Beach and here on Paradise Island more pleasant,” he said.