Tourism officials estimates nearly $1 million in losses


Ministry of Tourism officials have estimated that The Bahamas lost close to $1 million in room revenue as a result of cancellations due to Hurricane Ike.

“We are estimating somewhere close to 5,000-room nights which equates to about $900,000 in lost room revenue,” Director General of Tourism Vernice Walkine disclosed to The Nassau Guardian yesterday.

She said while these figures were calculated by the ministry and the Bahamas Hotel Association, they do not reflect what the visitors would have spent in the destination.

Walkine explained that the numbers are based on the average daily room rate times the 5,000-room nights.

“So you are talking about minimally $900,000 in lost room revenue plus all of the other spending that would ordinarily have occurred had these people come,” she said. “You might have recalled there was a time when the cone seemed to show that the hurricane was going to go right up The Bahamas chain. And this was reflected in all the external news media and people were understandably concerned and started to call to see if they can invoke the Bahamas Hotel Association’s hurricane cancellation policy, which allowed them to either reschedule for another time or get a full refund.

“And so we estimate that the people who actually canceled over the last week or so equated to about 5,000-room nights.”

While Bahamasair was forced to cancel several international and domestic flights during the passage of Tropical Storm Hanna and Hurricane Ike, executives do not believe the airline incurred any major financial losses.

Managing Director Henry Woods said yesterday that while he was not in possession of the figures “we do not anticipate any significant losses.”

“We haven’t had any damage; we did not have to fly out. All it means is that we just did not operate certain flights,” Woods explained.

The Nassau Guardian was unable to ascertain the number of flights the national flag carrier canceled.

Woods said there was no damage to any Bahamasair facility, except for its Inagua office. The island was hit hard by Ike on Sunday.

As it relates to cruise ships, tourism officials have disclosed that projected losses from Tropical Storm Hanna in cruise ship taxes and tourist spending were estimated at just under $761,000 for the period Sunday, August 31 to Thursday, September 4.

This was based on estimations of head tax and spending per passenger. They have not yet released numbers relating to cruise tax losses as a result of Hurricane Ike.