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Promotional campaigns boost hotel occupancy

Preliminary statistics released by the Bahamas Hotel Association and the Ministry of Tourism show an uptick in visitor arrivals for the early part of the low season. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Despite concerns about low occupancy rates due to the 2009/2010 economic downturn, New Providence hotels are reporting somewhat higher than expected figures for the spring/summer season on the back of industry-wide promotional campaigns.

Although the summer months are typically regarded as the low season for The Bahamas’ hotel industry, statistics show that the second quarter of 2010 surpassed performance for the same period last year and bettered results for the first quarter of this year, with 2.6 per cent more room nights sold.

According to preliminary statistics released by the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and the Ministry of Tourism and?Aviation (MOTA), the 14 major New Providence hotels, including the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort and the Wyndham Nassau Resort, recorded a 71.5 per cent occupancy rate for June compared to 65.9 per cent for the same month last year.

The second quarter of 2010 ended with a 68.3 per cent occupancy rate with an average daily room rate (ADR) of $236.73, slightly higher than the 66.4 per cent and $232.41 for the same period last year.

Of the 14 properties, nine reported increases in their room revenue, with seven showing double-digit growth. While there were widespread increases in ADRs at these properties, it was the surge in room nights sold that contributed the most to revenue growth.

Industry officials say the success of tourism promotion initiatives, such as the Companion Fly Free programme, was a primary reason for the uptick in recent occupancy figures. Industry statistics indicate that since the promotion was launched at the beginning of the year, it has contributed to over 138,000 visitors coming to The Bahamas representing 255,702 room nights. This promotion alone possibly accounts for as much as $50 million in room revenue so far in 2010, according to MOTA.

The ministry and the private sector’s Promotion Board also recently implemented a Fridays Free in The Bahamas programme, which offers guests who travel by September 30 free accommodation on Fridays, as part of any four-night stay at participating hotels. Nassau’s British Colonial Hilton and Wyndham Nassau Resort have signed up to the campaign, as have Pelican Bay at Lucaya and the Radisson and Reef Village at Our Lucaya on Grand Bahama.

Following the dredging of the Nassau harbour, the port is now fit to receive some of the world's largest cruise superliners, including Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Epic.

Having signed the required number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements with OECD member nations before the March deadline, The Bahamas is now preparing for the next round of scrutiny.

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