The Ministry of Tourism yesterday unveiled a three-phased marketing strategy to attract visitors once again to The Bahamas ahead of the full reopening of the sector in October.
Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu said the first phase, which began immediately following yesterday’s Tourism Recovery Update, is a targeted approach to visitors already seeking to travel to The Bahamas, utilizing social media and Google ad buys over traditional television commercial spots.
“What we’re doing within the ministry is finding those people who are searching already and want to travel to the islands. We are using Google, for example, to do this. Those persons will be retargeted and we will serve them up a Bahamas ad. These are the people that we don’t need to sell the destination to and this phase will begin immediately after this presentation through to the end of October,” she said.
“And if people are asking why the soft approach while we’re looking to build up pent up demand, the reason is simple. We know that we are competing for ad space with the US presidential elections at this time and in fact a lot of attention is focused on the US presidential elections, so the advertising space is crowded and there is no need to compete.”
Immediately following the presidential elections in the United States, the Ministry of Tourism will then move on to phase two.
“At this point we will add some brand notifications to our advertising because we know that as we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas we want to begin being a lot more strategic and therefore we’ll be releasing aspirational imagery and branded ads with Expedia, one of the largest bookers of business to The Bahamas, for the period for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Jibrilu said.
“And then for phase three beginning in 2021, if all things considered we’ve got control over public health concerns both within The Bahamas and our source markets, we hope to begin marketing as business as usual.”
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said consistent and frequent messaging will be key to boosting interest in travel to the islands.
“Our advertising spend will be concentrated on the identified airlift markets to deliver direct, impactful messaging where it matters most. Through PR and media stories we will lean into current travel trends, such as the preference for vacations closer to home, as well as options that afford seclusion and outdoor pursuits,” he said.
“And we have some advantages in that regard. You would have seen recent reports in the news about research that shows that The Bahamas is among the top destinations desired by North Americans wishing to take an international trip.”
The ministry is executing this new marketing plan on a reduced budget, as government agencies saw a 20 percent decrease in their budgets across the board, Jibrilu highlighted.
“I think everyone in The Bahamas knows that throughout all our ministries the budgets were cut at the beginning of this budget period for 2020/2021. The Ministry of Tourism was no exception, we saw a 20 percent cut in our budget,” she said.
“Beyond that we know that with the second lockdown that has impacted revenue to the government and so monies that we even expected have been reduced potentially. We’re all hopeful that we will receive those monies. I say all of that to say yes, indeed, our budgets are greatly reduced.”