By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Atlantis’s top executive said yesterday that the resort’s Thanksgiving occupancies were up by a “strong mid to high single digit” percentage increase compared to 2014, aided by its fifth US college basketball tournament.
Paul Burke, Brookfeld Hospitality’s president and managing director, said the Paradise Island resort was set for a “very solid” Thanksgiving weekend, due in large part to Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Mr Burke told Tribune Business that the men’s pre-season college basketball tournament has become stronger each year, with 2015 being no exception.
“Thanksgiving is looking very solid, and each year it gets better,” he said.
“This is our fifth Battle 4 Atlantis, and progressively each year they get a bit stronger. This year is no exception. We’re up in the strong mid-to high single digits on a year-over-year basis from an occupancy perspective.”
‘Battle 4 Atlantis’ has rapidly established itself as one of the premier pre-season basketball tournaments for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams.
Syracuse, the University of Connecticut, Michigan, Gonzaga, Texas, Washington, Texas A&M and Charlotte will be in this year’s event.
“This year’s field is extraordinary. The field is strong and the teams and their fans bring a lot of people,” said Mr Burke.
“We’re on ESPN 1 and ESPN 2 this year. All of the games are televised. The championship game is on ESPN on Friday at 3pm, which we happen to think is a really great time.
“In the US, families will be gathering, watching television and enjoying each other’s company, and we think it’s a great time slot to expose Atlantis and the Bahamas to that audience. The fans are being blown away by the property. The good thing is a lot of those fans are young, and so we hope to have them as customers for the next 40 plus years.”