Travel analytics firm ForwardKeys, which tracks inbound visitor data, expects The Bahamas’ tourism recovery to be atypical versus other Caribbean destinations struck by devastating hurricanes, a press release from the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) noted, adding that this country reached 80 percent of its pre-hurricane arrivals one month after Hurricane Dorian passed through the island chain.
According to ForwardKeys’ data in the release, Puerto Rico has taken 15 months to reach 70 percent of pre-hurricane arrivals, while St. Maarten has taken 20 months to reach the same.
“Hurricanes have been a major scourge, affecting travel to the Caribbean in recent years, with some islands left badly damaged,” the release stated.
“In the case of The Bahamas, ForwardKeys expects the recovery to take less time because the initial rebound in both post-hurricane arrivals has been stronger.”
The release also revealed that travel to the Caribbean in general remains firm since Dorian passed through the eastern Caribbean as a tropical storm and Category 1 hurricane, eventually passing over The Bahamas as a Category 5 storm.
“A study undertaken by ForwardKeys revealed that despite the recent ravages of Hurricane Dorian and other huge storms in the Caribbean, tourism will continue to grow,” the release stated.
MOTA Director General Joy Jibrilu said in the release that The Bahamas’ unique geography allows its tourism industry to carry on after devastating storms impact part of the archipelago.
“The Bahamas is an archipelago with more than 700 islands and cays, spread over 100,000 square miles of ocean,” Jibrilu said.
“Because of our unique geography, a hurricane can impact some parts of the country, but leave other parts untouched. That is the case with Hurricane Dorian. The majority of our country remains beautiful and palm-fringed, with unspoiled beaches in several shades of white and pink.
“We would like everyone to know that the best thing they can do for us right now is visit.”
ForwardKeys Vice President of Insights Olivier Ponti added: “What we have seen in recent years is that the Caribbean is an incredibly popular destination. When some parts of it have been hit with horrendous hurricanes and other issues, tourists did not give up on their desire for a holiday in paradise; they chose other parts of it to visit instead.”
The government is hoping for tourism to rebound quickly on Grand Bahama and Abaco. It has been announced by the MOTA that Grand Bahama is already beginning to rebound, with several hotel properties reopened and cruises calling on the island.