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Resorts ‘meet or exceed’ Easter tourism targets

Bahamian resorts were yesterday said to have met or exceeded their Easter performance targets and are expecting a strong 2024 second quarter.

Robert Sands, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s (BHTA) president, said all major resorts saw an “extremely strong” close to the first three months of 2024 with Easter bookings meeting or exceeding goals.

Speaking to Tribune Business, Mr Sands said bookings into the summer are “very positive and encouraging” with this trend likely to carry on throughout the year once there are no unexpected shocks to the tourism industry.

He said: “Our Easter was extremely strong. Very, very strong. And I think most, if not all, hotels met or exceeded their forecasts for that period.

“Forward bookings are also looking very positive and encouraging. So, we keep our fingers crossed and trust that we have no unexpected headwinds so that our positive momentum can continue not only for the second quarter, but for the entire rest of the year.”

Earlier this year, deputy prime minister, Chester Cooper, who is also minister of tourism, investments and aviation, said first quarter bookings were expected to outpace 2023 by 14 percent.

He added that a report by the Forward Keys consultancy revealed that arrivals for the three months to end-March 2024 are expected to exceed the comparative period for 2023 with mid-year bookings ahead of the first six months for last year by 12 percent.

Last week, Joy Jibrilu, the Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board’s chief executive, said the sector had rebounded strongly from the negative publicity from the US and Canadian travel warnings with airline seat capacity for February some 32 percent ahead of 2023 comparatives at 6,838 seats per day.

She said: “As it relates to Easter, coming off the last week of January and first week of February it was quite a hair-raising time not knowing what direction we were trending in. The rebound has been incredible, and all our partners have seen very strong bookings for Spring Break and March.

“All of them are trending above what they have forecast, so we’re going to end up with a very strong March and April. The future outlook is very strong too. We met last week with all the airline partners last week at Routes Americas and all were saying the same thing.

“All of them were very pleased with the destination and its performance, so we’re very pleased across the board, especially on the heels of that travel advisory when all the members were hit and we were like: ‘My goodness. What’s going to happen?” This is a very good position for us to all find ourselves in.”

By: Fay Simmons, Tribune Business Reporter