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Grand Bahama suffers massive drop in tourism

The Grand Lucayan resort. FILE

Grand Bahama suffered a whopping near 62 percent decline in room revenue for the first eight months of this year, compared to last year.

The information was revealed yesterday in the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association 2017 data report. The report showed that room revenues on Grand Bahama were over $14 million last year, but dropped significantly to just a little over $5 million this year.

With the Memories Grand Bahama resort and certain parts of the Grand Lucayan remaining closed since the passage of Hurricane Matthew, the island’s room availability was down 57.7 percent.

From January 2016 to August 2016, Grand Bahama had 407,026 available rooms, but only 172,221 rooms for the eight-month period this year.

As a result, the amount of room nights sold declined by 59.73 percent, and only 100,111 rooms were sold this year, compared to 248,620 rooms last year. The occupancy rate fell by 2.95 percent.

For August this year, the island suffered a 43.7 percent decline in cruise visitor arrivals when compared to the same month last year. For the second quarter of this year, overall for Grand Bahama cruise visitors declined by 33 percent and 8.6 percent in the first quarter.

Grand Bahama’s poor performance is likely a result of two of the island’s major hotels being closed, but the government has yet to find a buyer for the property.

Instead, it made a purchase offer to Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa for the embattled Grand Lucayan property.

Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar suggested that government has been forced into a purchase of the Grand Lucayan property because deals with private investors have proven not to be “economically advantageous” for his administration.

Although renovations were expected to start on the property in August, none has started to date.

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