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2004-08-27 16:49:41

Hotel Sector Experiences Impressive Summer

Although many hotel employees are excited with this boost in the tourism industry, some employees in the sector, even some at Atlantis, are bracing for the dismal period that is expected shortly.

Major hotels on New Providence and Paradise Island are reaping the success of a booming summer with occupancy levels averaging in the high 70's.

Properties such as Holiday Inn, Comfort Suites Paradise Island, The British Colonial Hilton Hotel, Wyndham Nassau Resort, Radisson Cable Beach Resort and Atlantis, all reported high room occupancy figures for the summer months.

While many hotels expect this success to continue throughout the month of August, some are preparing for the slow period starting in September that is expected to last four to six weeks.

Ken Joos, front desk manager at the British Colonial Hilton, said the hotel is experiencing a 10 percent hotel occupancy increase compared to the same period last year.

“This is an uphill trend and things are looking extremely well for the hotel,' Mr. Joos said. “Things are a little better and we expect for the percentages to remain in the 70's for a few weeks.'

Last year, during the month of August, the Hilton's occupancy levels were around 50 percent to 60 percent and this year the hotel occupancy is around 73 percent and 76 percent, he reported.

The hotel is expecting to finish the month of August averaging between 75 to 77 percent in hotel occupancy.

In 2003, hotel performance figures showed a decline in average room occupancy of 2.4 percent and a decrease in room revenue of 4.8 percent.

But many hoteliers are glad that they can actually report an improvement at this time of the year.

“We are definitely having an exceptional quarter.' Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino General Manager, Najam Khan, said.

“Last year percentages were in the 30's and 40's and this year we are up by 20 points more. That's a significant increase from last year and we expect this trend to remain in the high percentage.'

Officials at Comfort Suites reported that they are also experiencing high occupancy levels this summer.

The hotel has reportedly seen a growth in its occupancy level from 50 percent in 2003 to 70 percent this year.

Radisson Cable Beach Resort reported that the hotel occupancy was at its highest percentage during August since the September 11 attack on the United States in 2001.

The growth in the hotel is said to be attributed to the increase in Internet bookings and increased airline flights coming to New Providence.

Although many hotel employees are excited with this boost in the tourism industry, some employees in the sector, even some at Atlantis, are bracing for the dismal period that is expected shortly.

Stephen Sawyer, general manager of Atlantis Beach Towers, said the hotel experiences a bit of a downturn every year and employees should expect this period to come.

As a result of the projected slowdown, Kerzner International, which operates the resort, will reduce employees' workweeks starting September 1. The normal workweeks are expected to be resumed a month later.

Bianca Symonette, The Bahama Journal

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