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Hotel room demand continues to outpace room supply

President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association Robert “Sandy” Sands said yesterday that the traditional slow season in The Bahamas this year could be anything but slow, as demand for a Bahamas vacation continues to outpace room supply.
Sands told Guardian Business yesterday that, as has been said many times over, the country needs to continue growing its room inventory in order to keep pace with growing demand.
“The reality is that the issue for The Bahamas now, the opportunity for The Bahamas, is that we have to grow room inventory,” said Sands.

“And because we don’t have this level of rooms that we would have had even say pre-COVID, that is putting significant pressure on a number of hotels that are open and traditional occupancies no longer apply, simply because demand is outstripping supply at this time.”

He added that the growth in the tourism sector as the country rebounds out of the COVID-19 pandemic means that the traditional length of stay has also been increasing.

He also noted the growth in the number of cruise passengers coming to this country, with Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper saying last week that this country could welcome five million cruise passengers by the end of the year.

Sands added that there is also not enough data on the vacation rental market to understand what the level of business is in that sector. However, he said he is “sure that it is also vibrant at this point in time”.

The Bahamas is set to have additional airlift from Seattle and Los Angeles under a new partnership with Alaska Airlines, marking the first flights for the airline to The Bahamas from its two West Coast hubs, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). JetBlue is also beginning a new route direct from LAX to The Bahamas in time for the winter season.

In terms of room inventory, The British Colonial hotel is expected to be fully open by the winter season, Cooper said recently.

The British Colonial, which was branded a Hilton hotel before it closed, is currently being renovated.

Chester Robards July 12, 2023