Bahamas losing edge as top destination pick in region

The Bahamas is losing its ground to regional counterparts as a preferred vacation destination in terms of forward-bookings and flight searches for the first quarter of 2021, with a new analysis on travel to the Caribbean noting that the future of travel to the region relies heavily on each nation’s rules of entry.

Data from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys has shown that while The Bahamas still holds interest with American travelers, the US Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, Puerto Rico and Jamaica are faring better in capturing interest from top source markets – including the US, Canada, the UK, France and Spain.

According to Skyscanner, the platform ForwardKeys used to obtain forward booking analytics, the top searched destinations from the US source market for travel in Q1 2021 are Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Jamaica and Cuba.

The only other source market of the five showing interest in booking vacations to The Bahamas is Spain, in which The Bahamas places fourth, behind Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

“In sum, the future heavily relies on each nation’s rules of entry, the flight corridors they set up and catering to a wider mix of source markets beyond the traditional ones,” the analysis read.

ForwardKeys said since Caribbean islands do not have the safety net of domestic or inter-regional tourism, the marketing focus should be placed on flight corridors and closer relations to regional neighbors.

“When looking at future bookings and flight searches in early 2021, it appears that the island nations that have ties to both North America and Europe will sail on to the sunset a bit better than the others,” the analysis read.

“In Q4, towards Christmas, we see an increase in bookings; the demand for a tropical Christmas arises particularly for Jamaica and Puerto Rico.”

The flight searches were analyzed from January 1 to August 31 and only considered passengers staying at least one night in the destination. The analysis compares booking data and flight searches to the Caribbean from the summer season with that of the coming Christmas season.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. 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

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