Statement from Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Grand Bahama December 10, 2018
The Government’s efforts have resulted in improvement in the Tourism sector in Grand Bahama during the year to date 2018. According to the Central Bank of the Bahamas latest Monthly Economic and Financial Developments, October 2018 which was published Monday December 3rd, 2018 tourism stop-over visitors showed and overall increase of 7.4%. The report showed improvement in Grand Bahama year to date, recovering from the huge decrease in 2017 of 39.5%. 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% on a year-to-date basis, a reversal from the prior period’s 39.5% plunge.”
The Central Bank report also showed a significant increase in online vacation rental bookings from AirDNA. In fact, Grand Bahama showed a 44.2% 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%, amid gains in both the entire home and hotel comparable listings.”
The Ministry of Tourism will continue its online marketing and rebranding of Grand Bahama. In addition, 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.
Over 3 million has been approved for renovations to the Grand Lucayan and the process of choosing contractors has already begun. 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.