BHA Optimistic On Improvement In The New year

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THE Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) said it is "hopeful" that room occupancy numbers and general conditions in the tourism industry will improve in the first quarter of next year.

BHA's executive vice-president Frank Comito said officials are watching promising trends that could lead to better occupancy levels in the country's hotel sector next year.

"We're hopeful that there are indications that it will be better and it remains to be seen though because people still are booking at the last minute but there are indications that it will be better," he told The Tribune on the sidelines of a press conference at police headquarters yesterday.

"We had some marginal improvement so far in 2010, nothing significant, but marginal improvement year on year and we're hopeful that trend line will continue," he said, adding that the BHA was still collecting industry data from the last quarter of the year.

Recently outgoing BHA president Robert Sands revealed that while most tourism indicators improved in 2010, the year has been "a mixed bag of revenue gains, higher operating costs and global uncertainty".

"Indicators in general moved closer to our 2008 pre-recession benchmark. Projections for next year show continued marginal growth as we slowly pull out of one of the most difficult economic periods in decades," Mr Sands told attendees at a recent BHA general meeting.

He also pointed to measures which have been put in place this year by the public and private sectors which should steer the industry out of the doldrums quicker than many of the Bahamas' competitors. These include major airport infrastructure improvements in Nassau and Abaco, as well as the liberalisation of the telecommunications industry, which should bring about improved services at lower costs in the coming years.

The Tribune
December 17, 2010