October 24, 2020

Tourism ‘Upswing’: Nassau/Pi In 12% Internet Demand Surge

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98587184webBy Neil Hartnell From Tribune 242

A 12 per cent surge in Internet search demand for Nassau/Paradise Island is leading top hotel officials to conclude “tourism is on an upswing”, with the capital the most sought-after vacation destination in the Caribbean.

A Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board report has revealed that the capital remains the most-desired vacation destination in the region, with 52 per cent of survey respondents likely to visit within the next two years.

The report, which was revealed to Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) members last month, also found this nation – as a whole – was the most visited location by survey respondents over the past two years, ranking 11 percentage points ahead of its Caribbean rivals.

And, drawing on data from Google.com, the Promotion Board report said interest in the Bahamas from potential visitors in its core US markets appears to be increasing.

Internet search demand for Nassau/Paradise Island and the Bahamas was up 12 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively, in 2014, with the former among the Caribbean leaders when it came to increased vacation interest.

The Promotion Board report showed that Internet search demand for Nassau/Paradise Island was up year-over-year for all US cities, with Orlando and Washington DC showing 33 per cent and 23 per cent rises.

Not far behind were Houston and Detroit, which exhibited Internet search demand increases of 24 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.

Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice-president of government and external affairs, suggested that much of the increased Internet interest may be due to the $3.5 billion developer’s upcoming project opening.

He added that the statistics revealed by the Promotion Board report “augur well” for March 27, and indicate that Bahamian tourism is “on the upswing again”.

“Without blowing our trumpet, I believe these increased hits on the Internet, and positive images. are a direct result of Baha Mar coming online on March 27,” Mr Sands told Tribune Business.

“These numbers, representing destination inquiries, bear good news for tourism in the Bahamas and the Western Hemisphere. We are a major contributor to that good news, and it augurs well for our future launching that there is keen interest in the opening and coming online of Baha Mar.”

Mr Sands added that the increased online interest in Nassau/PI and the Bahamas was “indicative” of the extra 350,000-400,000 visitors that Baha Mar is seeking to attract to fill its net 2,200 room increase.

He added that these numbers were equivalent to a 30 per cent increase in the stopover visitor numbers that the Bahamas has traditionally attracted.

“I think it’s very positive,” Mr Sands reiterated of the Promotion Board report. “It means that the Bahamas is on an upswing again. I think we’re going to see good things, especially with the addition of 2,200 rooms.”

The Promotion Board, which drew on findings from a survey by MMGY Global, noted that the Bahamas was the most visited Caribbean destination by survey respondents.

”At three in 10 (29 per cent), the Bahamas was the most visited Caribbean destination during the past two years,” the Promotion Board report said. “Cancun ranked second, 11 percentage points behind the Bahamas.

“Four in 10 (42 per cent) respondents had not visited destinations in the Caribbean during the past two years.”

When it came to persons likely to consider visiting Caribbean destinations, Nassau/Paradise Island ranked top with more than half of survey respondents willing to vacation here.

And the recession had little to no impact on these figures, with 52 per cent willing to visit Nassau/PI in 2012 compared to 53 per cent in 2007 – just a one percentage point difference.

“As in 2007, the likelihood of visiting Nassau/Paradise Island is highest among all the Caribbean destinations measured in 2012, and the likelihood of considering a visit to Nassau/Paradise Island during the next two years remains unchanged from 2007,” the Promotion Board report said.

“Half (52 per cent) of respondents are ‘very/extremely likely’ to visit Nassau/Paradise Island during the next two years.

“The likelihood of visiting other Caribbean destinations declined across the board between 2007 and 2012. The likelihood of visiting Aruba fell by a statistically significant nine points, while the likelihood of visiting Cancun dropped from 46 per cent in 2007 to 33 per cent in 2012.”

Grand Bahama was included in this pack, as the likelihood of visiting that island fell from 45 per cent in 2007 to just 36 per cent in 2012. The Family Islands were closer to Nassau/PI, with the likelihood of visiting dropping from 24 per cent to 23 per cent.

Some 23 per cent of MMGY survey respondents were ‘very likely’ to visit Nassau/PI, again the highest percentage of all the Caribbean. And a significant percentage of visitors to destinations such as Miami, Orlando and Las Vegas were also willing to consider a Nassau/PI vacation.

When it came to Internet search demand, the 12 per cent year-over-year increase enjoyed by Nassau/PI in 2014 was second only to Turks & Caicos’s 15 per cent rise among Caribbean destinations.

Statistics presented for 2014 add to the impression of a resort/tourism industry that continues to progress in its recovery from 2008-2009.

Nassau/Paradise Island hotels saw a more than $10, or 7 per cent, increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2014, which rose from an average $149.13 in 2013 to $159.62.

All vital indicators moved in the right direction, with average daily room rate (ADR) for Nassau/PI growing from $235.87 to $239.47 year-over-year. Average occupancies were up from 63.2 per cent for the year to 66.7 per cent.

Nassau/PI room revenues and air arrivals were up 1 per cent and 2 per cent year-over-year compared to 2013, while room nights sold were flat.

As for Grand Bahama, which was buoyed by the Memories resort’s opening, rooms available increased by 31.44 per cent or 149,650 – growing from 476,051 to 625,701.

Occupied rooms grew by 56.51 per cent or 121,611, increasing from 215,217 to 336,828, while average resort occupancy on this island rose by 8.62 percentage points – from 45.21 per cent in 2013 to 53.83 per cent.

But, while Grand Bahama’s room revenues increased by 33.23 per cent or $6.319 million, from $19.015 million to $25.334 million, this appears to have been achieved by discounting.

For average daily room rates (ADRs) on the island dropped by 14.87 per cent or $13.14 year-over-year, falling from $88.35 to $75.21 in 2014.

For more on this story go to: http://www.tribune242.com/news/2015/mar/16/tourism-upswing-nassaupi-12-internet-demand-surge/

IMAGE: www.docstoc.com

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