July visitor arrivals highest since restart of tourism

There were more than 180,000 visitor arrivals to The Bahamas in July as the tourism sector picked up steam, the most visitors to the country in a one-month period so far for the year.

According to The Central Bank of The Bahamas’ (CBOB) Monthly Economic and Financial Developments (MEFD) report for August 2021, there were 183,270 total visitors through the country’s first port of entry in July, up from the 135,000 in recorded in June and almost 94,000 in May.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that monthly tourism output maintained signs of a slow recovery, albeit continuing to face headwinds, owing to the ongoing globally-imposed travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, domestic demand continued to provide support to the vacation rental market,” the CBOB stated.

“Initial data from the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) indicated that total visitor arrivals by first port of entry expanded to 183,270 in July, from just 23,820 in the corresponding period of 2020, as international borders were reopened, although with imposed restrictions. Leading this outcome, air arrivals strengthened to 133,811, from 15,355 in the previous year, representing 76 percent of the arrivals recorded in 2019. In addition, sea traffic increased to 49,459, compared to a mere 8,465 in the preceding year, as the uptick in cruise bookings persisted and more ships and ports resume activity.”

Official statistics for August and September have not yet been released. However, major hotel properties have reported strong bookings month over month with the expected falloff during the typical end of summer period.

Nonetheless, data from the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) revealed that total departures — net of domestic passengers — rose to 101,530 in August, the Bank’s report states.

“In particular, US departures advanced to 94,166 from just 1,074 in the prior year, while non-US departures increased to 7,364, from a mere 1,065 in the preceding year,” the MEFD report states.

“On a year-to-date basis, outward-bound traffic recovered by 24 percent, 

following a decline of 68.5 percent last year. In particular, US departures grew by 41.1 percent, after a 69.7 percent falloff in the previous year. In contrast, the reduction in non-US departures extended to 63.4 percent, from 60.8 percent in the prior year.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments Chester Cooper has said forward booking numbers for the winter season remain encouraging for a strong rebound in the tourism sector.

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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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