BHA President Urges Hotels To Stay Close To Banks and Utilities

Tuesday, 29 September 2009 08:26 BHA News Editor
Over the next several months, hotels and tourism-dependent businesses in The Bahamas will continue to feel the brunt of the impact of the global recession, high US unemployment, and a lack of consumer confidence in the United States, our major source of visitors, according to the Bahamas Hotel Association.  While industry competitive data reveals that The Bahamas is holding up well compared to many areas around the world, hotels and tourism-related business are in a vulnerable state and the next several months are crucial to the operations of a number of businesses.

BHA President Robert Sands advises businesses which are experiencing cash flow difficulties to stay in close contact with banks, utility companies, and vendors to work out payment arrangements if necessary during this difficult period.

"Many of the cost-savings measures which have been put in place by businesses may simply not be enough.  Typically our hotels and tourism-related businesses rely on a healthy core six months of stronger business activity to carry them through the lean months, particularly September, October and November.  Visitor arrivals, occupancies and revenues during our traditionally stronger months was far below the normal.  As a consequence, many of our members find themselves in a position of significantly reduced cash flow over these coming months" states the BHA President.

The industry, working in tandem with the Ministry of Tourism, has not held back investments in marketing, marketing support, and aggressive packaging to help maximize market share.  "Still, the global tourism spend pie is smaller and consequently our revenue take is smaller" states Sands.

In a recent communication to the senior management of BTC, BEC, Grand Bahama Power and Light, the Water & Sewage Corporation, Cable Bahamas, and the nation's banks, Sands appealed to them to work closely with hotels and tourism-related enterprises which show good faith during the critical coming months.  "While we recognize fully the responsibility which every business has in meeting their financial obligations, we recognize that hard decisions must be made by hotels and tourism-related businesses through the end of the year with regard to expenditures and managing operating costs.  Concurrently, we know that it is only good business on your part to work with businesses during these difficult times to help see them through" he stated.

The BHA President invited their continued sensitivity and outreach in working with BHA businesses on payment plans and other arrangements as many go through an unprecedented period of depleted cash flow.  "We are also reminding businesses to take the initiative to work with the utilities, banks and vendors should they be experiencing difficulty" he added.

"We are all in this together, and by working together we will help to minimize business closures and position ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities which the future will certainly present" concluded the BHA President.