Atlantis president: More flights needed to service pent-up demand

‘In many markets, airfare is double what it was pre-COVID’ ◗ Summer demand is extremely encouraging, says Oswell

There is not enough airlift to meet the demand of people wanting to visit The Bahamas this summer, according to Atlantis President and Managing Director Audrey Oswell, who said the resort’s biggest challenge right now is limited airlift, leading to escalating airfares.

Based on the number of travel health visas purchased through the Ministry of Tourism – a requirement to enter the country – The Bahamas has seen month over month growth in tourist numbers since the official reopening of the tourism sector in November.

Tourism officials have predicted that the growth will continue over the summer months, as more and more Americans get vaccinated and feel safer traveling.

Oswell said Atlantis is encouraged by the summer booking numbers.

“Our guests are responding to additional airlift in markets like Austin and Orlando and we need more flights from our key markets to service the pent-up demand. Summer is trending well, particularly around holiday weekends. Summer will be capped off by the BIG3 NBA basketball tournament, which we are thrilled to host at Atlantis and in The Bahamas,” Oswell told The Nassau Guardian.

“Overall, summer demand is extremely encouraging. What’s holding the market back is limited airlift resulting in escalating airfares. In many markets, airfare is double what it was pre-COVID. This is exacerbated by cruise home porting.”

Travel health visa applications peaked to just over 64,000 in April and are expected to be higher for the month of May, when official figures are released.

Tourism stakeholders have attributed the growing interest in The Bahamas as a vacation destination to the robust rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country’s largest source market, the United States. It coincides with the government’s push to get more Bahamians vaccinated so that the country is viewed as a safer destination.

Oswell provided an update on the resort’s push to have as many of its employees vaccinated as possible.

“We are encouraged by the overwhelming commitment of our team members who are receiving vaccinations, which will provide another layer of protection for their health, the health of our guests and our community,” she said.

As of this week, there have been more than 62,000 Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in The Bahamas.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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