Fourth quarter bookings for The Bahamas are “surprisingly strong”, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) Joy Jibrilu revealed yesterday, also contending that consumer preference is beginning to indicate a shift away from mass tourism.
Jibrilu, who was the keynote speaker during Tuesday’s MOTA yachting webinar, said indicators in April pointed to a third quarter start to The Bahamas’ tourism rebound. Now, she said, the country’s fourth quarter numbers are looking good.
“If we look at The Bahamas, indicators are actually quite positive, which is surprising given the circumstances from source markets. People are still interested in traveling to The Bahamas,” said Jibrilu.
“And if we look at bookings, for our fourth quarter they are surprisingly strong. And so by 2021, all things being considered, having a handle on how to manage COVID-19 until a vaccine has come about, we feel that we can expect a cautiously optimistic strong rebound in the next 12 months.”
Mega hotels Baha Mar and Atlantis plan to reopen during the fourth quarter of the year and cruise ships are planning their return in that same period.
Jibrilu explained that as consumer preference shifts to less densely populated vacation locales, this could mean a shift in the volume of tourists coming to a destination. She said that change could in some ways be advantageous.
“Shifting consumer preferences indicate the need to reconsider the mass tourism approach and to focus more on product and service quality,” she said.
“Lower visitor numbers may help to reduce the negative impacts of tourism, like pollution and overcrowding. Travelers are looking to avoid crowded destinations.
“In these uncertain times, we all must adapt to survive and to support the continuing profitability and sustainability of the tourism industry for our country right now. That primarily means delivering high-quality tourism, with a heavy focus on health and safety for all.”
According to Jibrilu, many people continue to put off travel for fear of contracting COVID-19, which she said The Bahamas has put many protocols together to guard against.
“While we must eventually get on fully with the business of tourism, the chief focus in doing so must be the protection and maintenance of the health and safety of both visitors and local residents of the destination.”