Romora Bay Resort & Marina Managing Partner Joe Dargavage with a reason to smile, 100% occupancy and a packed marina over July 4th weekend. “Things are looking up, for sure, but we still have a long way to go.”
Harbour Island Resort Marina Packed
Romora Bay Reports ‘Best July 4th In Our History’
After more than a year of pandemic-related travel restrictions that transformed hotels into abandoned hideaway lookalikes, one Family Island resort is celebrating what it called “the best 4th of July in our history.”
Joe Dargavage, Managing Partner of Romora Bay Resort & Marina in Harbour Island, said numbers had been trending upward gradually since The Bahamas instituted the travel health visa in November, but the explosion of activity over the American Independence holiday was the highest in nearly 16 months.
“Every slip at the marina was full. The best part was the smiles on people’s faces. They just looked like they were happy to be back in The Bahamas, like they had missed their boating second home,” said Dargavage. “Aquapazza and Sunsets restaurants were both full and happy hour was another level of happy. It felt like people were celebrating just being in The Bahamas, on the water, in the pool, drinking a pina colada or having cracked conch, like they had come home again and were loving every minute of it. Things are looking up for sure, but we still have a long way to go.”
The crowds of guests were a stark contrast to the portrait of emptiness on the property months before when The Bahamas imposed travel restrictions in an effort to contain the COVID-19 virus.
Like many hotels, Romora Bay attempted to keep on as much of its all-Bahamian staff as possible, using the lull in business to renovate rooms, enhance landscaping and make repairs or upgrades to the marina which has been a huge draw for sportsfish and other mid-size vessels since it opened just over a decade ago.
“We reached out to loyal Romora Bay visitors to raise funds for the community,” said Dargavage. “Romora Bay has been a staple in the Harbour Island scene for more than half a century and we felt a sense of responsibility to do what we could when people on this island, which is nearly 100% dependent on a visitor economy, were displaced or struggling.”
The American Independence holiday weekend was not the first time the boutique resort and busy, large marina experienced 100% occupancy. It has hit that peak several times over the past five years, but never before, said Dargavage, with the same spirit.
“It was wonderful and the best part is bookings look strong for the coming months. Our summer 2021 could be our winter season in a normal year,” said Dargavage, who spearheaded the creation of the Harbour Island Hotel Association, serves as vice president of the Association of Bahamas Marinas and is the chairman of the 2022 Bahamas Superyacht Show.
According to Dargavage, Romora Bay was not alone in enjoying full occupancy.
“Thanks to the hard work of the Ministry of Tourism and the Minister, we in Harbour Island are enjoying a resurgence of tourism. The resorts and marinas are busy and the island, the restaurants, shops, golf cart rental business, are all active,” said Dargavage. “People are back to work and business is back. It’s a huge relief but we should be cautious and bear in mind that we still have a long way to go before we can fully recover from the year we will never forget. At last, we are all seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and the vessels at the end of our docks.