Thompson: Tourism improving in GB

Sen. Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Grand Bahama

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama, Kwasi Thompson, on Monday, touted the government’s efforts to revive the tourism product in the nation’s second city, which he said reflects a marked improvement.

Thompson said according to the Central Bank of the Bahamas latest Monthly Economic and Financial Developments for October 2018, which was published on December 3, tourism stop-over visitors showed an overall increase of 7.4 per cent.

“The report showed improvement in Grand Bahama year to date, recovering from the huge decrease in 2017 of 39.5 per cent. The report indicated that in Grand Bahama, despite the ongoing challenges in room capacity after the closure of several hotels due to hurricane damage, stopover visitors to Grand Bahama firmed by 3.5 per cent on a year-to-date basis, a reversal from the prior period’s 39.5 per cent plunge,” Thompson said in an issued statement.

The Central Bank report, Thompson said, also showed a significant increase in online vacation rental bookings from AirDNA.

“In fact, Grand Bahama showed a 44.2 per cent increase which reflected the largest increase in the country.

“An analysis of the major markets revealed that bookings in Grand Bahama firmed by 44.2 per cent, amid gains in both the entire home and hotel comparable listings.”

Thompson said the Ministry of Tourism will continue its online marketing and rebranding of Grand Bahama. In addition, he said they are continuing to work with advertising agencies in promoting the Grand Lucayan resort to generate additional room occupancy in partnership with Bahamasair, American Airlines, Balearia Caribbean and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line through summer 2019.

“Airlift to GBI is being addressed by the Board of Bahamasair which expects delivery of a 727-800 series jet aircraft in Spring 2019 for utilization in a summer airlift program that offers 4-night rotations from several US gateways commencing May 2019 through August 2019,” Thompson said.

The Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama also noted that over 3 million has been approved for renovations to the Grand Lucayan and the process of choosing contractors has already begun.

He said the hotel board is also working very hard on bookings for the next few months which could lead to at least one additional hotel property being reopened if necessary to accommodate the additional bookings.