By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
SANDALS Emerald Bay is eying stronger occupancy levels this Easter compared to last year, the resort’s general manager yesterday telling Tribune Business that it was still being challenged on the average daily rate (ADR).
Jeremy Mutton said: “This Easter is better than last year in terms of occupancy levels, but we have noticed that trend over the last couple of months.
“Exuma has been doing quite well. Christmas and New Year was quite good. It’s been quite a good season as far as Exuma is concerned. Easter as a whole is not looking bad at all. We have some groups in house. We’re certainly showing a decent occupancy over this Easter.
“The following week after Easter is always quite busy because that’s when Sandals has what they call reunion week, where they invite all of the returning quests. That’s why that following week immediately after Easter we’re quite busy with all of our guests returning. It does help because sometimes not everyone wants to travel over the Easter holidays.”
Mr Mutton added: “It’s a struggle these days to command the type of rate you need. I think it’s still indicative of the economies where most of our guests come from. We are certainly not out of the woods yet. We have been able to achieve the occupancy percentage we had forecasted, but the average rate continues to be a challenge for us.”
While declining to comment on the controversial work permit issue, Mr Mutton reiterated that Sandals Emerald Bay’s talks with the Government have been very fruitful.
“They have listened to the problems and challenges we are facing,” said Mr Mutton. The resort admitted last year to facing severe difficulties in continuing its operations. Sandals said that among the challenges it was facing on Exuma were high utility costs, airlift to the island and a lack of trained talent.