“Next year will be better”
By Monique Washington
December is normally the height of the tourist season, but this year the Four Seasons — the largest hotel in Nevis — will see a decrease in occupancy.
The General Manager of the Four SeasonS Resort Ed Gannon said Wednesday that the holiday season will be slower than last year throughout Nevis and the entire Caribbean.
“In the region everyone is down this year,” he said. “It has actually been that situation for the entire year. We are looking at a very busy festive, even a great festive, but it is not as busy as we were hoping it would be.”
Mr. Gannon said the recent Zika virus outbreak that has plagued the region was one negative factor that has affected tourist visits to the Caribbean.
“Zika virus has plagued the entire Caribbean this year that caused everyone’s business to slow down,” he said.
In the 2017 Nevis Island Administration budget address in December, the Minister with responsibilities for health, the Hon Mark Brantley announced there were five confirmed cases of the Zika virus on Nevis.
Flight frequency also plays a role in the downturn of tourism, he said.
“It’s not just where to go during the winter vacation it is also the frequency of flights. The cost of flights is a factor as well as the frequency of flights. In the past, some hotels have been able to have a 10-night minimum.
“Some islands like Antigua and St Marten can still maintain a 10-night minimum because of the frequency of flights. We have to base our length of stay on the period of flight availability. There are a lot of unique challenges when it comes to operating here,” he added.
Gannon said the hotel’s marketing team has been working around the clock to market the Four Seasons Nevis as a desirable destination.
“We talk about our island and how beautiful it is. All these great changes we are making around the resort and how exciting it is going to be. We do a tremendous amount of marketing,” he said.
During the NIA 2017 Budget, Mr. Brantley said his Ministry is building on existing relationships for the benefit of Nevis.
“We have partnered with the Four Seasons Resort and we have run a competition for a Free Honeymoon on Nevis on NBC6 in Miami. Over 4,000 individuals entered the competition. 1,073,000 adults were reached in the Miami and surrounding areas with an advertisement that we aired on NBC6 126 times in October,” Brantley said.
When questioned about the newly opened Four Seasons in Anguilla and speculations that guests are choosing Anguilla as a destination over Nevis, Gannon said both hotels can improve the marketing capacity for the region.
“Between these two properties it’s actually a very excited time for us in the sense that Four Seasons has two places to market the Caribbean and it is phenomenal,” he said.
“These two properties are so uniquely different from each other. I believe that we will have a lot of guests choosing to hop between Anguilla and Nevis and we might see more people come aa result of this to our destination
He also said Four Seasons in Nevis is preparing for renovations in 2017.
“We are preparing for renovations sometime late next year and when we have our renovation completed we will have the highest level of product quality as well,” he promised.The GM could not say if the hotel would be closed during the renovations and if so for how long.
While the 2016 festive season may be slow,Gannon said, “Next year is looking good though. In fact, it is looking much better.”