SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Ticket sales for the 2009 Miss Universe pageant have been slow, prompting a special promotion just days before the final event begins, a tourism official said Wednesday.
A package that offers four tickets for the price of three applies only to the televised final, said Janet Johnson, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Tourism.
"We're starting to see interest build as the pageant approaches, which is typical here in the Bahamas," she said. "We're very last minute."
Bahamas officials hoped this year's Miss Universe pageant would turn around an ugly year for tourism when the global economic crisis forced hotels to lay off hundreds of workers. The Atlantis dismissed about 800 employees this season, while The Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma announced in May that it would close.
More than 3,000 seats initially went on sale for the pageant at the Atlantis hotel. Officials with Kerzner International, which owns the Atlantis, declined to say how many tickets had been bought and how sales compared to previous years.
Kerzner International President George Markantonis said in a brief statement Wednesday that tickets were still available.
Prices range from $175 to $750 for the finals on Sunday night in Nassau, where 15 beauty queens will vie for the crown. NBC will provide live coverage of the pageant, featuring musical talents Flo Rida, Heidi Montag, David Guetta and Kelly Rowland.
Johnson said the cost of some tickets were out of reach for the average Bahamian.
"We're not accustomed to paying those sorts of prices," she said. "This is the first time we're having something like this in the Bahamas. The cost of the ticket may be skewed on the high side."