Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper said his ministry is seeking to reach visitor numbers equivalent to 2019 by the end of the year.
Cooper made those remarks while speaking at the National Association for Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD) annual African American Hotel Ownership and Investment Summit and Trade Show on Saturday, his first international engagement since assuming office almost more than three weeks ago.
According to Cooper, for September through November the country’s numbers are trending five percent below 2019 levels. In 2019 The Bahamas recorded record numbers of stopover and cruise visitors.
Cooper told the crowd that cruising has returned to The Bahamas in “full force”, touting the ongoing home porting initiatives by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises.
Cooper assured those in the room that there remains myriad investment opportunities in The Bahamas, especially in the tourism industry and assured that his government will ensure projects are expedited. He said investment is at the core of the government’s plan.
“My government recognizes that the current economic circumstances of our country dictate that we leave no stone unturned in creating opportunities for our citizens, especially given the fact that in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, borders closed and global tourism took its worst hit ever,” he said.
“In this environment of positive growth, investment projects that were stalled by the effects of COVID-19 must be revived and progressed and new initiatives sourced to replace others that were negatively affected.”
Cooper explained that there exists opportunities for boutique hotel properties across The Bahamas and encouraged more development of such properties. He also touted the development of medical tourism and said it would be a key focus for the Exumas.
“We are convinced of significant investment opportunities for The Bahamas in a post-COVID environment.”