Friday, May 22, 2020
By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
An Eleuthera-based resort manager yesterday argued that the island needs more hotel rooms to fully exploit its tourism industry potential.
Jennifer Hadland, the French Leave Resort’s general manager, told the Eleuthera Business Outlook conference: “That has always been my concern here in Eleuthera that we do not have enough beds for heads, in particular as you move further south. I think we do need to look at that because there is another opportunity right there for Eleutherans.
“We need to make rooms available, we need to make beds available, we need to tap into that area again. That’s where you can see construction now becoming very viable. We really do not have, in my opinion, sufficient rooms.”
However, Tiffany Johnson Bourne, manager of Daddy Joe’s restaurant in Eleuthera, countered: “We may not have sufficient rooms, but we have a lot of Airbnbs, and that’s been the challenge for a lot of local hoteliers where the Airbnb market has cut into the domestic and smaller hotels.
“So I think that if you search Airbnb, there’s numerous Airbnbs from Harbour Island to the south. There may not be the hotels but the Airbnbs are definitely there pulling into that market.”
Ms Hadland, responding to Ms Bourne’s suggestion that Eleuthera has sufficient vacation rental accommodation to make up for the perceived lack of hotel beds, said: “I was including that actually. I probably should have stated that. I’m talking available beds. We really don’t have a lot of hotels to speak of, so it is definitely including the Airbnbs as well.
“We’re also seeing a change in Airbnbs where people now are reluctant to rent Airbnbs, so it still would be considered an issue and a concern.”
Ryan Austin, secretary of the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce, said that between the boutique hotels in the north and vacation rentals, Eleuthera is “up for the challenge”.