By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
All performance indicators for major Nassau/Paradise Island hotels increased by double digit amounts every month in the 2019 first quarter, with room revenues ending the period up 37 percent.
Ministry of Tourism data released yesterday confirmed that the resort industry maintained its soaring growth throughout the three months to end-March, with room revenues up 48 percent, 41 percent and 28 percent for January, February and March respectively.
March’s year-over-year growth was lower by comparison with the first two months because March 2018 contained the peak Easter holiday weekend, which fell in April this year. And, while the 2019 first quarter numbers will have been aided by Baha Mar’s Rosewood property, which did not open until end-May 2018, the figures still suggest significant growth is taking place.
Revenue per available room (RevPar), a key measure of hotel performance, was up 32.7 percent for the 2019 first quarter as a whole, standing at an average of $232.24 compared to $174.99 in 2018. The gap between 2019 and 2018 RevPar data was around $60 for each of the first three months.
Nassau/PI occupancy rates were also up by double digit percentage points in each of the first quarter months, averaging 77.8 percent for the period compared to 63.8 percent last year. Room nights sold were ahead by 36 percent, 27 percent and 17 percent for January, February and March respectively, closing the quarter up by an average of 26 percent.
Meanwhile, Nassau/Paradise Island air arrivals were ahead year-over-year by 33 percent, 24 percent and 14 percent for January, February and March respectively, closing the 2019 first quarter up an average of 22 percent at 369,926 compared to the prior year’s 303,825.
Including sea arrivals, total visitors to Nassau/Paradise Island for the 2019 first quarter were up by 27 percent at 1.238m compared to 974,816 in 2018. “One of the major reasons for this increase in air arrivals to Nassau/Paradise Island was due in part to the opening of new resorts on the island in 2017 and 2018, which increased room inventory on the island,” the Ministry of Tourism’s report said.
“The increase in air arrivals to the island was also due in part to the ‘solid’ performance made by the other large hotels on the island which attracted business to their properties. Air arrivals to Nassau/Paradise Island also increased significantly because of the stellar marketing efforts done by the Ministry of Tourism, its industry partners and the hotels themselves.”
The report added: “Air arrivals to Nassau/Paradise Island began to soar in the last quarter of 2017, and this trend continued throughout 2018 and into March 2019. By the end of 2018, air arrivals to Nassau/Paradise Island were up by 19.2 percent.
“In March 2019, air arrivals to Nassau/Paradise Island were up by 14.1 percent compared to March 2018, and by the end of March 2019 year-to-date they were up by 21.8 percent. The air arrivals to Nassau/Paradise Island continued the upward trend that had begun in 2018 as they moved full speed ahead.
“In March 2019, air arrivals to the Bahamas were up but did not have the really significant growth in the early months of 2019 because the Easter Holiday did not fall during the month. In March 2019, air arrivals to the Bahamas were up by 9.5 percent and by March 2019 year-to-date it was up by 17.3 percent.”