Tourism conference boost for Bahamas


Tribune Business Reporter


The Bahamas this week has a chance to attract fresh investment and operators to its resort industry as it plays host to a leading tourism conference.

The Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) is being held at the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar from November 10-12, and will provide The Bahamas with an opportunity to source fresh investment capital for its major economic driver as it seeks to continue the post-COVID rebound.

Parris Jordan, managing director of HVS, and the chairman and founder of CHICOS, told Tribune Business, that around 250-300 hotel and tourism executives from Caribbean and North America, as well as government officials, are expected to attend.

“Attendees are senior level executives from hotel companies like Marriott, Hilton and the Hyatt,” he said.”They’re signing deals for those brands. They’re the lenders that lend hundreds of millions of dollars to hotel projects throughout the Caribbean region. They are government officials, the different executives, within the hotel space, that are trying to do deals throughout the region.”

Calling on Bahamian entrepreneurs seeking resort industry partners to attend, Mr Jordan added: “What they can also expect is updates on the latest trends in the Caribbean and learning what’s been taking place in the hospitality landscape in the Caribbean region.

“What is happening now as the recovery is starting to take place, and then our forecasts for what’s going to happen in the future. In 2021 we see the Caribbean market is recovering strongly, not just The Bahamas but the Caribbean islands in general.”

Speaking about The Bahamas specifically, Mr Jordan said he sees an “upswing” in the next 24 months with business volumes returning to 2019 levels. Despite occupancies being down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, room rates and yields have largely held-up, enabling some hotels to recover without having to discount and becoming under-priced.

“What The Bahamas has going for it is that it has lots of airlift and ways for people to get to the country. That will bode well going into the end of 2021 and into 2022,” Mr Jordan said.

He said also said: “The RevPAR ( revenue per available room) is increasing over occupancy rates. Occupancy is still challenging, but the average rate is increasing, which is good for the region.

“As a hotel owner, and as a destination, you want your rates to be high because you know occupancy does come back when people are more comfortable to fly, and all of the things are being putting in place for that to happen. With the restrictions easing, and more and more people getting vaccinated, airlift occupancy will return.”

“The average rate for hotels in the Caribbean and in The Bahamas is growing strongly month-over-month, but the occupancy levels are not growing at the same rate and are growing at a lower rate,” Mr Jordan added.

“The Bahamas has great inventory. You have Baha Mar, and it has the most meeting space in the Caribbean. So when our investors visit they want to see the property and they want to be in The Bahamas. You have the Margaritaville that just opened. So you have great product, and new, quality product in The Bahamas, and you have lots of options to travel in and out.”

Mr Jordan added that AM Resorts was a major hotel brand looking to operate in The Bahamas. And while the Marriott is present with its Courtyard label, it has over a dozen more brands that can be made available to The Bahamas.


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