Paradise Island resort re-engaging employees who were furloughed during pandemic
“We are really pleased with business going into July and the remainder of the summer”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Atlantis is seeing full occupancy for the next two months, with strong bookings through the fall, its president and managing director said yesterday.
Audrey Oswell, in an interview with Eyewitness News, said: “Business is going very well. At Atlantis, five of our six towers are open. Everything is fully opened with exception of Beach Tower, which will remain closed for the rest of the year because we are doing some renovations there.
“Business is really strong right now. It started with Memorial Day weekend through the month of June. We saw business steadily increase day after day and week after week.
“Heading into July, we are looking at being over 90 percent occupancy, very close to 2019 levels. We are really pleased with business going into July and the remainder of the summer.”
Oswell added: “We’re seeing that the booking window is a lot shorter than in 2019, meaning we are getting a lot more short-term bookings, but we’re full through the end of August. The last week in August, it starts to slow down a little bit.
“Bookings are very strong straight through the fall. We are really pleased with the pace of room bookings through the remainder of the year and into early next year.”
Oswell said that with business levels returning, the resort has been re-engaging many of its employees who have been on furlough as a result of the pandemic.
“We are calling team members back every week. We have over 3,000 team members back right now,” Oswell explained.
“We opened two more restaurants in the last two weeks. Initially, we were going to only open up a portion of the Coral Tower — the Ocean Wing — but because of business demands, we opened the entire tower.”
According to Oswell, continuing COVID vaccination efforts in the US and locally are making a huge difference in the tourism sector as visitors are starting to feel comfortable travelling again.
“What we really need is all of our workforce and the rest of our neighbors here in The Bahamas to get vaccinated. It makes tourists feel more comfortable coming here,” she said.
She further noted that while the resort has not been asking employees whether or not they are vaccinated, the resort’s unofficial estimate is that around 50 percent of its staff have been vaccinated. She said that while the resort has not mandated employee vaccinations at this time, it is encouraging them to get vaccinated.
According to Oswell, until airlift increases, it is unlikely that the market will be able to sustain 2019 levels.
“We are pacing so close to 2019, which is a good thing for the marketplace and it will continue to grow,” said Oswell.
“We will see more airlift in the fall, which is certainly not our peak season but we will take it as soon as we can get it.
“The more seats in the marketplace, the better. Certainly, I would like to see more airlift. It would take tourism even further. It has not been too much of an obstacle for us. We keep our eye on it very closely. Having a lack of seats coming into the marketplace is not good for anyone.”