Prosperity in the Bahamas
The country is seeing visitor growth—and there could be opportunity for timeshare developers.
2017 was a good year for the Bahamas: The island nation came out of Hurricane Irma mostly unscathed and saw a nearly 10 percent year-over-year increase in visitor arrivals. This year is promising too, as the Bahamas secured the number two spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best Places to Travel in 2018” list and was the only Caribbean destination named.
“One of the reasons the Bahamas has had positive tourism growth is the continuous promotion of the country in international markets—especially the U.S.—which is their main feeder market,” says John Dishinger, director of business development, Caribbean, for RCI. For the past five years, the Bahamas has sponsored a theme night in March with the Miami Heat basketball team, reaching thousands, and in February 2018, Kelly and Ryan filmed four episodes in the Bahamas, earning 16 million views.
Dishinger also credits strong cruise traffic and the buzz around Baha Mar, a megaresort that opened in April 2018 after more than 10 years of development, for bringing in visitors. The property, which comprises three hotel brands, is expected to be fully open this spring, adding more than 2,000 rooms to Nassau, the Bahamas’ capital. Baha Mar also has the largest casino in the Caribbean, 42 restaurants and lounges, a golf course and dozens of shops. Dishinger predicts Baha Mar will increase tourism to Nassau, supplementing the draw of the Atlantis resorts on Paradise Island.
Developers may want to look to Nassau, as it’s relatively underserved by timeshare. “The easy access from the U.S. and heavy cruise business provide ample prospects to make timeshare viable,” Dishinger says, adding that “some of the Out Islands are gaining enough traffic to make boutique properties viable.”
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