Business

More than 1.9 million tourists from January through April

April sees more than half a million, highest arrival numbers since COVID-19

From January through April The Bahamas has welcomed 1,933,351 million tourists, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism Chester Cooper said yesterday.

During the month of April alone there were 586,574 – the highest number of visitor arrivals the country has had during a single month since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Air and sea arrivals through April year-to-date were up by 946.8 percent over the same period of 2021. I will say that another way, there has been an almost 1,000 percent increase in arrivals to The Bahamas for the first four months of this year, compared to the first four months of last year,” Cooper said during his contribution to the debate on the 2022/2023 annual budget.

“There are multiple reasons for this, but I just wanted to put that difference in perspective. Air arrivals for April year to date were up by 186.1 percent over the same period of 2021. Cruise arrivals for April 2022 were up because most of the major cruise lines had already resumed service to The Bahamas and there had been very few cruise arrivals for the same period of 2021. Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruises, had resumed service to The Bahamas after more than a year of absence due to the global pandemic, and other cruise lines had also done the same.”

Cooper said on average the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) is processing 10,000 arrivals each day. On Tuesday alone there were 20,000 passengers in Prince George Wharf.

“The ships are running 107 percent occupancy, Bay Street is buzzing and vendors, merchants and employees are making money,” he said.

Copper added, “From January to April, 2022 there were 1,434,850 cruise arrivals. Over 436,000 of that number was in April alone. Of course, there is no comparison to last year for that period as there were essentially no arrivals.”

The US remained the country’s largest source market with 390,241 air arrivals from January through April, followed by 15,093 from Canada and 5,158 from the United Kingdom.

“What I found very interesting at my time in tourism is the fact is that we have tens of millions of people living in Florida 30 minutes away and we get less than 500,000 tourists from this market in a good year,” Cooper said.

Florida, he added, has 22 million residents and receives more than 120 million visitors each year.

Cooper said The Bahamas must capitalize on its proximity to Florida and the millions of residents and visitors it has to grow The Bahamas’ tourism product.

“Needless to say, we are developing our relaunch in this market as well. We plan to connect with Floridians through a series of lifestyle events that allow for direct engagement and data collection. We will launch a series of coordinated consumer, trade and vertical events. My colleague John Pinder will speak more to our strategy around boating, diving, fishing, yachting and private aviation,” he said.

“We plan to re-establish key strategic partnerships with boat manufacturers to create opportunities to reach and encourage existing and new boater owners to travel to The Bahamas. We plan to strengthen our fixed-base operator and marina gateway program and partnerships to reach and assist private pilots and boaters with travel planning. These gateway partners are in strategic locations in Florida.

“We are going to leverage the power of our vertical ambassadors’ influence as experts on our destination to promote proximity, safety, and the amazing experiences in our destination.

“These are key to building two-center vacation offerings from Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Canada. We will leverage the combined marketing strength of our partners like the promotion boards, hotel stakeholders, and transportation partners to create coordinated communications plans to drive demand from Florida audiences.”

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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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