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Tourism mission trips aim to bring arrival numbers back to 2019 levels

In a bid to get back to the record number of visitors The Bahamas experienced in 2019, the Ministry of Tourism will begin a series of missions to key markets around the world to remind them of what this country has on offer, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper said Friday.

Speaking to members of the media during a press conference at his ministry’s office, Cooper explained that the missions will begin this week in the Florida market where he said 29 percent of arrivals to The Bahamas originate.

He said the ministry hopes to influence the market to the degree that the number of arrivals doubles the 500,000 figure that came from the state in 2019.

Later this month, Cooper said, the mission will move to New York where 28 percent of visitors in 2021 hailed from.

“We are being proactive in terms of reaching potential visitors to our shores and we’re looking forward to continuing to bolster our arrival numbers,” said Cooper.

“We want to get back to the 7.2 million that we experienced in 2019 and we want to get to a place where we are significantly increasing our stopover visitors in particular.”

The tourism personnel and tourism stakeholders who will be part of the mission will meet with travel agents, market influencers, airlines, large sporting teams like the Miami Dolphins and the Orlando Magic and other significant influencers, Cooper said. 

With new airlift on the way from Raleigh, North Carolina, Cooper said his ministry is also working to attract business from that market.

“We’re working on a robust plan to begin softening the ground in Raleigh to ensure that the major players, stakeholders, influencers, media houses are aware of what we’re doing and what the offerings are,” said Cooper.

Bahamasair is expected to soon begin flights from Raleigh to Grand Bahama, with a continuing leg to Nassau.

The deputy prime minister said bookings have already begun to come in for those flights.

He added that American Airlines is expected to begin flying into Grand Bahama from Charlotte, North Carolina in November, adding that government is working with them to add airlift into the Exuma.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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