Tourism Promotion Generates $50M Room Revenue Boost

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THE Bahamas' Companion Fly Free airfare promotion has generated up to $50 million in hotel room revenues for 2010 to-date, it was estimated yesterday, along with 138,000 visitors as June occupancy levels came close to matching 2008 numbers.

Unveiling preliminary figures for the 14-strong New Providence resort industry's June performance, the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and Ministry of Tourism, in a joint statement, said the 255,702 room nights generated by the Companion Fly Free promotion - which has seen one half of couples fly to the Bahamas for free - had been a "primary reason" for the June 2010 showing.

"Using the 2009 ADR for the Bahamas, this promotion possibly accounts for as much as $50 million in room revenue so far in 2010," the BHA/Ministry of Tourism said.

The 71.5 per cent average occupancy rate achieved by New Providence's 14 major hotels during 2010 was just o.4 percentage points behind June 2008's 71.9 per cent showing, which occurred before the Lehman Brothers collapse and full effects of the global recession were felt.

However, June 2010's average daily room (ADR) rate of $225.55 was still some $10 or 4.3 per cent below the $235.77 June 2008 comparative, while last month's room nights sold and room revenues were also 4.8 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively behind two years ago.

Still, the 2010 performance was comfortably ahead of June 2009 comparatives. The 2010 average occupancy rate was some 5.6 percentage points ahead of last year's 65.9 per cent, while a year-over-year $15.17 ADR increase generated a 16.3 per cent room revenue boost and an 8.5 per cent rise in room nights sold. ADR for 2009 was $210.38, compared to $225.55 this year.

The BHA/Ministry of Tourism said: "Of the 14 properties, nine reported increases in their room revenue, with seven of them showing double-digit growth. While there was widespread increases in ADRs at these properties (eight of 14 properties), it was the surge in room nights sold that contributed the most to the growth in revenue.

"Of the nine reporting revenue increases, all showed increases in room nights sold, with five showing double-digit growth."

The joint statement said the 2010 second quarter "surpassed all measures of performance" for last year, adding: "It even surpassed room nights sold for the first quarter of this year, 2.6 per cent more room nights sold. However, it was still 6.8 per cent behind in room revenue due to a $23.87 higher ADR in the first quarter.

"The second quarter of 2010 ended with a 68.3 per cent occupancy rate and a $236.73 ADR, compared to 66.4 per cent and $232.41 last year, and 67.2 per cent and $260.60 in the first quarter of this year.

"To the end of June, occupancy stood at 67.7 per cent, ADR at $248.51 and room nights sold and room revenue 3.8 per cent and 5.9 per cent above 2009 levels. This compared to 65.2 per cent and $243.47 in 2009. Air arrivals to Nassau to the end of April were up 2.4 per cent."

Source: The Tribune