Business

Forward bookings from UK up beyond pre-pandemic levels

New travel insights from the United Kingdom (UK)-based World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) show a 161 percent increase in the number of airline tickets purchased for travel out of the UK to The Bahamas.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for just about two percent of annual stopover arrivals, the WTTC – a forum of global travel and tourism industry businesses – highlighted.

“The data shows airline tickets booked for international trips out of the UK increased an average of 24 percent in the week to July 13th, compared to the previous week. Weekly flight tickets for future travel from the UK to traditional destinations have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with Greece the most popular destination, up 211 percent compared to 2019. The Bahamas follows closely, with tickets up 161 percent on pre-pandemic levels. Croatia has also reached pre-pandemic weekly ticketing levels in the last week (107 percent) while tickets for travel to Spain, which reached 88 percent of 2019 levels, are fast increasing,” the forum states.

The Bahamas was recently added to the UK government’s amber list of countries and territories for travel and soon after, British Airways resumed regular flights to the capital earlier this month.

There were more than 36,000 visits to The Bahamas from the UK in 2018.

In a recently released report on travel and tourism trends, WTTC stated, “While North America and Latin America performed better than most other sub-regions, declining by 42.2 percent and 41.1 percent in 2020 respectively, the Caribbean region suffered disproportionately more, with travel and tourism GDP dropping by 58 percent due to its strong reliance on international tourism, which decreased significantly. Within the Caribbean, some of the worst affected countries were St. Kitts and Nevis, which saw a steep decline of 72.3 percent; and St. Lucia, which experienced a decline of 71.7 percent.

The report continued, “The Bahamas, UK Virgin Islands and St. Vincent and the Grenadines all faced harsh losses, with declines of 68 percent, 67.6 percent and 67 percent, respectively, demonstrating the importance of international inbound travel to these economies. With travel and tourism accounting for a large share of the overall economy in many Caribbean countries, the sector will play a key role in driving the socioeconomic recovery of the region post-COVID-19.”

Since reopening tourism at the end of 2020, The Bahamas has seen month-over-month growth in visitor arrivals, with Lynden Pindling International Airport reporting 201,628 total passenger movements through the country’s main gateway in June, 135,976 in May, 122,076 in April and 90,498 in March.

Ministry of Tourism officials have estimated more than 400,000 visitors have entered The Bahamas so far this year.

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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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