BHTA:  Occupany levels for New Providence hotel “slightly off pace”

BHTA:  Occupany levels for New Providence hotel “slightly off pace”
Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) president Carlton Russell

Most properties anticipate falling short of last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas performance

NASSAU,BAHAMAS – Hotel occupancy levels for many New Providence hotels are “slightly off pace”, according to Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) president Carlton Russell.

Russell said most properties anticipate that the will meet of fall slightly short of last year’s performance figures for the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods.

“As of today, occupancy levels for the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods are slightly off pace for many hotels in New Providence; however, the Thanksgiving Holiday as of recent years, has not been as robust as peak holidays such as Christmas,” the BHTA president wrote in an emailed response to Eyewitness News Online inquiries.

He continued: “Overall, bookings have accelerated significantly following the immediate weeks post Dorian, and properties are gaining ground as the peak season approaches.

“Most properties anticipate they will meet, if not fall slightly short of last years performance figures for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Forecasts for the new year are cautiously optimistic, however it is important to note; it is not anticipated Nassau/Paradise Island will see the same increase in year-over-year performance indicators, considering the destination will not have the same significant injection of room inventory into the Nassau, Paradise Island market with the full opening of Baha Mar; 2019 comparative performance indicators will be calculated with existing, steadied room inventory levels.”

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar  revealed last month that tourist arrivals to The Bahamas declined by 14 per cent in September.

He notes that while the drop off was ‘significant’, “we thought it would be a lot worse”.

Data from the Central Bank revealed that room nights sold for the first nine months of 2019 were up 16 percent compared to the same period the year before while average daily room rates (ADRs) were ahead by 7.8 percent at $265.05.

Average occupancy rates for the year to end-September stood at 72 percent, with Hurricane Dorian only slightly blunting the resort sector’s performance over the eight months prior to its devastation of Abaco and Grand Bahama.

“Data from The Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) and the Ministry of Tourism for a sample of large hotels in New Providence and Paradise Island confirmed a deterioration in hotel sector performance for the month of September,” the Central Bank report said.

“The average occupancy rate eased by one percentage point to 36.5 percent, amid a one percent fall-off in room nights sold. Nevertheless, the average daily room rate (ADR) edged up by 0.6 percent to $167.39,” the regulator noted.

It further added: “Conversely, in the nine months to September expansion remained evident, with surveyed large properties in New Providence experiencing a revenue boost of 25 percent.

“The average occupancy rate rose by 8.5 percentage points to 72 percent, while the number of room nights sold moved higher by 16.0 percent and the ADR appreciated by 7.8 percent to $265.05.”