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2005-05-18 22:27:17

Tourists Give Exuma High Score

2004 tourism activity in Exuma dramatically increased due mostly to the opening in 2003 of the 219 room, five star Four Seasons hotel.

In some categories, Exuma has scored triple digit increases. For instance, there were 5,100 visitors in 2003 compared to 29,000 in 2004, or 313.1 per cent increase; stopover visitors spending at least one night in Exuma, up from 2003 by 124.2 per cent; total nights sold in 2004 compared to 2003, up by 293 per cent.

While these increases are understandable, says Charity Armbrister, manager of the Ministry of Tourism's Exuma office, what is significant is the statistics on how departing visitors felt about the island. Of 7,913 who completed the questionnaire on whether they would recommend The Bahamas, 76.2 per cent, departing from Exuma said yes, compared to 62.4 per cent from Grand Bahama and 69.4 per cent from Nassau and Paradise Island.

The bar has been raised for Exuma properties. And the indigenous places have appropriately undergone extensive renovations. The Turtles Inn and Peace and Plenty, downtown, have upgraded; Palm Bay on the outskirts, has also upgraded. The Out Island Inn Resort and Spa is currently undergoing a major redevelopment with a projected opening in 2006. The Crab Cay Resort development, which started and stopped, is due to restart in a few months.

Ms Armbrister said there is a projection for a 4-5 per cent tourism growth in 2005.

Tourism Statistics for Exuma

* Visitors spent $1.885 billion in The Bahamas in 2004 compared to $1.757 billion in 2003 for a 7.2 per cent increase in expenditure.

* Visitors spent 262,300 nights in the Exumas in 2004 compared to 149,000 in 2003. This 76.1 per cent increase in visitor nights in the Exumas compared to a 1.4 per cent increase in Grand Bahama and 12.1 per cent increase in Nassau and Paradise Island and an 11.2 per cent increase in the rest of the Out Islands.

* About 32,000 stopover visitors spent at least one night in the Exumas in 2004 compared to 14,300 in 2003. This 124.2 per cent increase in stopovers in the Exumas compared to a 2.5 per cent increase in stopovers in Nassau/PI, 0.6 per cent decrease in Grand Bahama and a 4.1 per cent increase for the rest of the Out Islands.

* Hotel Visitors spent about 114,000 nights in hotels in the Exumas in 2004 compared to 29,000 hotel nights in 2003. This 293 per cent increase in Exuma hotel nights compared to a 13.8 per cent increase in Grand Bahama/ 10.4 per cent increase in Nassau/PI hotel nights and a 29.6 per cent increase in the other Out Islands.

* This was generated by about 21,200 hotel visitors in the Exumas in 2004 compared to 5,100 in 2003. This 313.1 per cent increase in hotel visitors in the Exumas compared to a 4.8 per cent increase in Grand Bahama/ 2.0 per cent increase in Nassau/PI and a 14.4 per cent increase for the rest of the Out Islands.

* Visitors staying in apt/villas/ in their own properties or in a timeshare spent 43,700 nights in the Exumas in 2004 compared to 28,700 nights in 2003. This 52 per cent increase in Exuma compared to a 12.3 per cent increase in Grand Bahama, 52 per cent in Nassau/PI and a 58.5 per cent in the other Out Islands.

* About 3,000 visitors staying in apt/villas/ in their own properties or in a timeshare in the Exumas generated this in 2004 compared to 2,100 in 2003. This 33.8% in the Exumas compared to a 2.8 per cent decrease in Grand Bahama/ 41.4 per cent increase in Nassau/PI and a 36.5 per cent for the rest of the Out Islands.

* Stopovers staying on boats spent 54,800 nights in the Exumas in 2004 compared 38,000 nights in 2003. This 44.2 per cent increase in Exuma boater nights compared to a 23.8 per cent decrease in Grand Bahama/24.2 per cent increase in Nassau/PI hotel nights and a 8.9 per cent increase in the rest of the Out Islands.

* This was generated by about 3,700 staying in their boats while in the Exumas in 2004 compared to 2,600 in 2003. This 40.5 per cent increase in visitors on boats in the Exumas compared to 5.4 per cent decrease in Grand Bahama, 15.2 per cent increase in Nassau/PI and 0.7 per cent increase for the rest of the Out Islands.

By: NORMAN ROLLE, The Nassau Guardian

 
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