Categorized | Featured, National News

Slight Decrease in Stopover Arrivals

Mr. Robert Sands

Journal Staff Writer

The number of stopover visitors this year is slightly lagging behind 2019 numbers at 1.3 million,
representing 18.5 percent of total arrival numbers, according to Bahamas Hotel Tourism
Association President Robert Sands.
Mr. Sands said there is work to be done to increase the conversion of a percentage of cruise
passengers to stopover visitors.
“This year, a cruise passenger is spending approximately $85. A stopover visitor is spending
close to $2,700. So, the conversion of five to 10 percent of those individuals, even if they went
over the stopover, would have an incremental and positive impact on revenues for the country,”
he said.
“The second thing that this creates an opportunity for us is that with this large amount of
individuals coming to our shores, we have to work to ensure that visitor dissatisfaction is
decreased and visitor satisfaction is increased and this is extremely important because the more
persons that visit the islands of The Bahamas and with the advent of social media, negative guest
satisfaction travels much quicker than positive guest satisfaction. So, we have to work very
diligently to ensure that satisfaction levels are increased.”
He said another obstacle is hotel room availability that has decreased by 25 percent.
“Our biggest opportunity lies in increasing our stopover visitors and that has been hampered
most directly by a reduction in available hotel rooms, some 25 percent of our inventory, down as
a result of a number of reasons. We are aware, Melia, we are aware of hotels in Grand Bahama,
Paradise Island. “Fortunately, we have British Colonial coming online in December of this year,
which will bring an additional 350 rooms to inventory, but the trust to have more hotel rooms
available, will all go well for each much greater stopover arrivals to the destination and a much
more financially successful result as a result of spend of those individual persons coming to the
To tackle this decrease, Mr. Sands announced that there are very advanced discussions going on
between the government and Baha Mar about Melia’s replacement and plans will be made public
very soon.
He said another industry that has been helping is Airbnb.
“So, the hotels that are currently operating, have achieved significant increases in their
occupancy levels, as well as in their average rates. We would have seen occupancy levels
increased by anywhere from 10 to 15 percent for the period to date, but you can’t get over a
particular threshold if you do not have the number of inventory of rooms available. Now, the

unknown and a segment that is doing very well, and we continue to encourage them, is the
Airbnb segment. Obviously, the government is looking at to see how they can be registered and
have a better handle on their impact on the economy, but certainly between that sector and the
stopover sector to have achieved three million, which is almost maybe 10,000 off the number for
2019, I think is commendable with reduced inventory”, Mr. Sands said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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