Domestic Economic Developments
During the month of November, the domestic economy maintained its measured pace of recovery, notwithstanding the ongoing spread of the Novel Coroniavirus (COVID-19). In this context, tourism output continued to improve, amid sustained gains in the high value-added air segment and the modest rise in sea traffic, as vaccination efforts progressed. Monetary developments were marked by a build up in bank liquidity, despite the reduction in domestic credit, trailing the contraction in the deposit base. However, external reserves decreased during the review month, reflective of the seasonal increase in foreign currency outflows through the public sector.
Initial data suggested that monthly tourism sector activity maintained its gradual pace of recovery, although continuing to face headwinds due to the ongoing globally imposed travel restrictions related to new strains of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preliminary data from the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) showed that total visitor arrivals by first port of entry recovered to 260,942 in October, from 7,666 in the corresponding period of 2020, when international borders reopened with restrictions. Contributing to this development, air arrivals rose to 56,875 from a mere 5,502 in the previous year—representing 75.8% of the arrivals in 2019. In addition, sea traffic rebounded to 204,067, compared to 2,164 in the prior year.
Disaggregated by major market, total arrivals to New Providence grew to 140,581 from just 2,359 a year earlier. Underlying this development, the air and sea segments measured 44,083 and 96,498, respectively. Foreign arrivals to Grand Bahama increased to 13,996, compared to only 476 in the preceding year, as air and sea arrivals amounted to 1,407 and 12,589, respectively. Further, total traffic to the Family Islands strengthened to 106,365, vis-à-vis 4,831 in the prior year, owing to gains in the air and sea components to 11,385 and 94,980, respectively.
As cruise segment recovery only commenced in the second half of 2021, the year-to-date outcome for total arrivals was still decreased by 30.9%––albeit significantly lower than the 70.5% reduction registered in 2020. Notably, air arrivals grew by 79.8%, a reversal from the 73.4% contraction recorded in the previous year, as all major markets registered positive movements during the review period. However, the cruise segment influenced a 61.4% falloff in sea traffic, after 2020’s decline of 69.6%.
The most recent data provided by the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) revealed that total departures—net of domestic passengers—advanced to 79,055 in November, from 9,777 in the corresponding month of 2020. Specifically, U.S. departures increased to 68,425 from 7,800 in the preceding year; while non-U.S. departures rose to 10,630 from 1,977 in 2020. On a year-to-date basis, outward bound traffic grew by 64.9%, contrasting with a 73.1% reduction last year. Underpinning this outcome, U.S. departures moved higher by 83.8%, after a 74.1% falloff in the previous year. In contrast, the decline in non-U.S. departures moderated to 30.0%, relative to 66.9% in the prior period.
As it relates to the vacation rental market, data provided by AirDNA for the month of November, compared to the same period last year, revealed that total room nights sold more than doubled to 95,440 from 39,917. Underlying this outturn, occupancy rates for both entire place and hotel comparable listings firmed to 50.7% and 47.9%, from 31.3% and 31.6% in the corresponding 2020 period. As depicted in Graph 1, pricing indicators showed that year-over-year the average daily rate (ADR) for hotel comparable listings moved higher by 11.1% to $181.76 and for entire place listings, by 8.8% to $490.95.
On a year-to-date basis, total room nights sold firmed by 56.0%, reflecting respective gains in bookings for entire place and hotel comparable listings, by 58.3% and by 38.9%, respectively.
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