Stopover arrivals up nearly 24 percent
Total visitor arrivals for the first two months of the year increased by 23.7 percent, significantly more than the 15 percent projected by Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar, who said yesterday that if tourism trends continue this way, The Bahamas could be poised to attract 7 million visitors in 2019.
Coming off of record tourism arrivals in 2018, which saw 6.6 million tourists visit The Bahamas – an increase from the 6.1 million visitors the previous year – D’Aguilar said he did not think the tourism sector’s performance could improve much more.
“I thought when we came in from 2018 there was no way that we could maintain that incredible rate of growth, but I proved myself wrong again and in the first two months of 2019 the tourism arrivals were up a whopping 16.6 percent, that was all of our visitors. And the stopover visitor component, I keep emphasizing, for the first two months of 2019, while I had originally projected it would be about 12 or 15 percent, I was wrong. It was up 23.7 percent in the first two months of 2019,” he said in the House of
“We were at 6.6 million last year, I think we’re on our way to 7 million for 2019. Man, if we get there the heavens will open.”
D’Aguilar said on New Providence stopover visitors were up 28 percent for the first two months of the year, on Grand Bahama up 8 percent, Abaco up 15.8 percent, Exuma up 23.2 percent, Eleuthera up 27.3 percent and San Salvador up 9.2 percent.
“Every island had incredible growth… Every time I talk to people throughout the commonwealth, the taxi drivers, the shop owners, the people who work in the hotels I ask them, how things? How’s it going? How’s it feeling? One pulled me aside and said they’ve never seen it this good. You ask the people who are working in the hotels how the tip money looking, man hot, it sweet,” he said.
“With tourism going so well I want to re-emphasize the many business opportunities that are out there. Please Bahamians, my fellow countrymen, take advantage of this boom in tourism. Start your business, grow your business, invest in your business, create opportunities for yourself.”
D’Aguilar was contributing to debate on the Water Skiing and Motor Boat Control Amendment Bill, 2018 and the Commercial Recreational Watercraft Amendment Bill, 2018.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News