Tourism expected to take sharp fall in Jan.

Tourism expected to take sharp fall in Jan.
Tourists flock the streets of Nassau on September 21, 2019.

The Cove reopens on February 11

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A “sharp fall” in tourism is expected this month as the world continues to grapple with the global coronavirus pandemic, said Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday.

D’Aguilar was responding to questions from the media regarding Atlantis’ announcement that some of its employees will be furloughed due to the low occupancy.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar. (FILE PHOTO)

Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, the tourism minister once again underscored that the United States, which is The Bahamas’ core market, continues to manage its own COVID-19 crisis and global tourism is down by 70 percent.

“We expect after the new year for there to be a sharp fall, and then in February, March, April, for there to be a slow ramp up,” he said.

“We did expect that to happen. The hotel staffing levels are based on business.

“So, when business goes down, they reduce staffing levels; and when business comes, they increase the amount of staff. That has happened in this industry for many years and it’s no different.”

Atlantis has assured it is not closing but will furlough several employees for “a few weeks” due to the lower occupancy levels in January — attributed to the lack of adequate airlift and the recent surge of COVID-19 in key markets.

The resort noted it is not unusual to adjust staffing needs according to occupancy levels.

Atlantis Paradise Island.

“Atlantis remains extremely optimistic about its February and March bookings and looks forward to The Cove reopening on February 11,” it said.

Atlantis and Baha Mar reopened in December after months of temporary closure due to the pandemic.

D’Aguilar noted that feedback from visitors has indicated they were “incredibly impressed” by the Ministry of Tourism’s visa process and day-five testing requirement.

“Visitors have told me time and again that they felt safe coming to The Bahamas,” he said.

“They felt that the process wasn’t too cumbersome and when they arrived in The Bahamas, they had a good time.”