Grand Bahama suffered its worst tourism slowdown following Hurricane Dorian, since Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne passed in September 2004. The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) is predicting that setbacks as a result of Dorian will become more pronounced next year as resorts on Abaco remain closed during the peak winter season due to damage from the storm.
Yesterday the Central Bank released its Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) report for September 2019, the month Hurricane Dorian struck, which showed that Grand Bahama’s total arrivals decreased by 63.4 percent in September, after experiencing a gain of 13.3 percent during the same period last year.
“The island’s air traffic diminished by 82 percent and sea visitors contracted by 61.5 percent,” according to the MEFD report.
Governor of the Central Bank John Rolle said yesterday during the bank’s quarterly economic update that Dorian’s timing, making its impact during the slowest part of The Bahamas’ tourism season, allowed the country to “preserve strong tourism performance over the first nine months of the year”.
“This momentum is sufficiently strong that the Central Bank expects The Bahamas will still record positive growth in 2019, underpinned by tourism, but much lower than had the storm not occurred,” Rolle said.
According to Rolle, Grand Bahama’s economy is expected to be partially recovered by next year.
In September, according to data in the MEFD report, New Providence and Paradise Island hotels experienced a mild one percentage point contraction in occupancy rates for September, though the average daily room rate (ADR) increased by 0.6 percent to $167.39
“However New Providence’s room revenue was flat during the month,” the MEFD report states.
“Taking the remaining northern Bahamas into account, the overall projected outcome was a reduction in stopover earnings in September.
The MEFD report also provides data for the Nassau Airport Development Company Ltd. (NAD), which experienced a 9.2 percent contraction in departures of foreign persons, “sharply contrasting with the 42.3 percent increase secured during the same period last year”.
The MEFD report also reveals that short-term rentals took a hit in September as data from short-term rental data provider
AirDNA showed a 19.9 percent decline month-on-month in available listings and a “reduction in bookings for the month”.