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Hundreds of travel agents will descend on Sandals Royal Bahamian and Sandals Emerald Bay in the coming week as the resorts continue their travel agent familiarization season (Mega-Fam).
By the end of December each resort would have hosted approximately 1,200 travel agents.
Resorts and hoteliers are pumping more cash into marketing, advertising and promotions in 2012 in an effort to keep the forward momentum going.
"There is no letting up on the promotions in terms of investment," said David Johnson, the director general at the Ministry of Tourism. "A number of stakeholders are boosting their marketing resources to stimulate sales as much as possible. With the late booking environment we're in, you can't afford to go dark. You have to remind people constantly of what you have."
In fact, the Ministry of Tourism and its various promotional boards have just approved the popular companion fly free program. Johnson told Guardian Business it continues to play a crucial role in attracting arrivals, and converted into dollars and cents, he said it translates into $250 in savings for those who stay three nights or less, and $400 for tourists traveling for four nights or more.
"So far it has worked. We are assured to have a strong winter. Our business has trended upwards since December," he added.
According to preliminary statistics from The Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, December 2011 saw an occupancy rate of 58.3 percent compared to 55 percent the previous year.
Room nights sold rose by 5.1 percent and hotel room revenue went up 6.5 percent year-on-year.
Stuart Bowe, the president of the BHA, said it's essential for hotels to increase revenue, as operating costs rise and resorts are forced to make large capital expenditures to remain competitive.
He echoed Johnson's sentiments that more focus on marketing and joint promotional and product improvement efforts have led to improved numbers in December 2011 and so far into this year.
"We are seeing the value of our strong marketing and promotional initiatives which are resonating well in the marketplace," he added. "These have been underway for two years and each year we have seen incremental progress. We are also pleased to see some of the highest customer satisfaction levels reported in years, with visitors citing overall improvements in the experience and appearance of our islands."
Bowe also noted the length of stay continues to rise for arrivals into Nassau, partly attributed to the new packages on offer but also the nature of the tourist.
Arrivals from Latin America, for example, comprise a different breed that tends to splash out for longer holidays.
In terms of 2011 as a whole, occupancy rate came in at 63.9 percent compared to 62.6 percent the previous year. Room nights sold improved 1.3 percent and room revenue spiked 3.1 percent.
Preliminary air arrivals to Nassau to the end of October last year were down 3.3 percent.
Bowe and other tourism leaders are predicting that 2012 could be the year that arrivals and occupancy levels return to pre-recession levels.
Sandals Resorts has introduced a new wedding planning concept that give couples the
opportunity to add their personality and style to their wedding
all-inclusive resorts for couples which operates 14 luxury resort
properties across the Caribbean including Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma and
Sandals Royal Bahamian, Cable Beach in the Bahamas.
Launched its all
'Your Wedding Your Style' wedding planning concept
which now allows couples to customize their dream wedding at the resort...
RAV Bahamas is still
very much in Bimini's tourism development picture, according to a joint
statement made by RAV and Bimini's newest investor, Resorts World
Bimini, a subsidiary of the Genting Group, a multinational corporation
engaged in a growing portfolio of leisure and gaming development and
resort operations in The Americas.
In June 2012, Genting Malaysia
joint ventured with RAV Bahamas, developer of Bimini Bay Resort &
Marina and Rockwell Island Beach Estates, to build the 10,000 square
foot Resorts World Bimini Casino.
Nassau, Bahamas - One
year after launching Sandals Earthguard powered by EarthCheck, Sandals
Resorts International has begun to realise a reduction in the company's
environmental footprint, improved operational efficiencies and increased
benefits to the company's host communities. Sandals' flagship property
in the Bahamas, Sandals Royal Bahamian has just been awarded a silver
rating by EarthCheck, benefiting from the group's environmental
Across all resorts, water from ice machines is recycled and used for
irrigation purposes and the company also recycles paper, cardboard,
glass and plastic bottles. In the energy management sphere, the
organisation has introduced 'intelligent rooms'
A Resorts World Bimini (RWB) official has welcomed the completion of the first phase of its port facility, stating that the new services offered will have a significant impact on business and the island's economy.
RWB Director of Public Affairs Michelle Malcolm stated that visitor numbers are expected to rise sharply following the completion of a controversial ferry terminal in North Bimini.
"During the first three months of operation, we brought more than 40,000 visitors to the island, which represented some 80 percent of the annual 50,000 visitors that the island attracted prior to our arrival. Our hope is to return to those numbers, which will positively impact the economy on Bimini both directly and indirectly," said Malcolm.
She outlined a host of developments as RWB moves into its next phase, including a South Bimini airport and watersports facilities, aimed at further increasing the island's profile.
"Construction on our luxury marina hotel is progressing well. Our hotel will blend the intimacy and exclusivity of Bimini with top-of-the-line accommodations, and we are on target for an early opening date. Meanwhile, work also continues on the upgrade and expansion of the South Bimini airport.
"We will also continue to deliver the second and third phase of the port at Resorts World Bimini, which will include a permanent customs and immigration facility, as well as the development of a beach experience with a beach bar, watersports activities and a craft market at the end of the pier.
The North Bimini Ferry Terminal has been steeped in controversy since construction began in May this year. Environmentalists and concerned citizens have repeatedly challenged the development over fear that it would irreparably damage the surrounding marine environment and the island's fishing and diving industries.
Despite these concerns, Malcolm noted that RWB continued to see a steady increase in visitors through both ferry and private yacht traffic as it wound down the first phase of the resort.
"Business has been very positive. We have seen a steady increase in visitor demand... The casino continues to bring in robust business and, as the home to the largest marina in The Bahamas with more than 200 slips, we are attracting boaters at a consistently high level."
Malcolm claimed that RWB, the largest employer in Bimini, is still hiring Bahamians "on a daily basis" and would soon launch further recruitment initiatives before the end of the year to accommodate the increased visitor demand at the resort.
"We continue to hire Bahamians to fill current positions for the resort on a daily basis. The recruitment initiatives for the new hotel are in progress and several job fairs are being scheduled for the remainder of the year," she said, noting that the resort is seeking between 200-300 additional employees to supplement RWB's current staff of approximately 450.
RWB earlier revealed a series of new day-trip routes to the resort. Cruises from the Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida will begin on September 18, 2014, while trips from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale will be available from October 14, 2014.
I am a proud Biminite who stands in support of the development at Resorts World Bimini. As a pastor of a local church, I often share with my congregation the big picture that people miss. For a very long time, the opportunities available to Biminites have been sorely lacking, and it has hurt us as a community. When you don't have sustainable economic opportunities, you lose members of your family, which is what has been happening here in Bimini for too many generations. I can use my family as an example. I have three kids who left here at an early age to get an education and never came back home because of a lack of opportunities. Now that is all about to change. The pier and airport expansion will spin off into opportunities that our children will now be able to stay with us longer because their journey for education will be planned for them to come back.
In addition to that, I am very pleased with what I see happening at the airport because it is going to be a big benefit to Biminites. As it is now, if I want to go to New York, I have to get a plane from here, spend a night in a hotel, then get a connecting flight. In the future, I will be able to get a flight directly from here to New York or Germany, or other places that will come on stream. The same thing applies to the cruise port. It's a win-win all around.
Unfortunately there must be some sacrifice, but as I see it the tampering with the sea bed is only a small portion of resources that we have that will be touched. When we look at the whole equation, both terminals outweigh by far the negative impacts that might be experienced.
Whoever these people are who are speaking against the project, we need to know because most of the people that I talk to here in Bimini are in favor of the work. For all the noise we are hearing through the media, we need to be able to put faces to these names. It troubles us that these people are not a part of us, yet they are speaking on our behalf. We don't know who these people are and they need to stay out of our business.
I am praying for the success of Resorts World Bimini because if it succeeds, Bimini succeeds. As the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.
- Oral Ellis, pastor, Born Again Church, Bimini
Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said to increase overall occupancy and to transform Resorts World Bimini Bay into a year round destination, a strategic transformation plan is being implemented that addresses product placement.
The Prime Minister brought remarks at the opening of the Resorts World Bimini Bay Casino in Bimini, Friday, June 28, 2013...
California -- Reef Worlds Inc, the leading underwater tourism
development firm in the U.S., is introducing their new experiential
Underwater Worlds for the Caribbean at all inclusive resorts with a new
$4.5 million dollar development budget.
The program is designed
to help resorts in the Caribbean grow market share, increase customer
satisfaction, and develop a competitive edge through unique, exciting,
and interactive underwater worlds designed for the environment and for
tourism. These completely unique and exciting underwater sites are
Remarks by Prime Minister The Right Honourable Perry G. Christie:
I am most delighted to be here today in the blissful, enchanting island of Bimini, along with my wife, Cabinet colleagues and a host of dignitaries, officials, invited guests and the good people of Bimini to with participate Mr. K.T. Lim the Chairman of Resorts World and the Genting Group and Mr. Gerado Capo the President of RAV Bahamas and their teams in the grand opening of Resorts World Bimini Casino...