The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) has pushed up its Canadian media blitz schedule and remains within budget despite ramping up marketing in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar told Guardian Business yesterday, explaining that while a tour across The Bahamas’ second largest tourism market is an annual multi-city tour, Hurricane Dorian made it necessary to “speed it up”.
D’Aguilar said The Bahamas has experienced double-digit growth from Canada, with increased airlift from the tourism market with regular flights twice daily from Toronto, four flights from Montreal added for the winter season and one flight from Calgary.
“We have to come into these markets and we do a sales blitz to get them media and travel agents, in the room,” said D’Aguilar.
“The purpose of the journey is to let them know that 90 percent of The Bahamas has not been affected by the storm.
“We do this anyway, but have decided to speed it up.”
While the MOTA has had to increase its campaigns in order to ensure travelers know the entire Bahamas was not affected by Hurricane Dorian, D’Aguilar said the ministry’s partners have contributed to financing many of those campaigns.
“We’re staying within our budget,” he said.
A press release from the MOTA about the media blitz explained that throughout the first seven months of 2019, about 3.7 million Canadians visited the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, which represented a year-on-year increase of 4.3 percent.
Canadian visitor arrivals to The Bahamas increased by 14 percent year-on-year in 2017 to 2018.
“During the months of January through September, Canadian arrivals paced 10.5 percent ahead of the same in 2018,” the release noted.
D’Aguilar added: “The tourism industry had a historic year in 2018 and maintained momentum right up to Dorian’s arrival. International arrivals to The Bahamas increased by just over 13 percent in August, including 2.1 percent growth from Canada.
“Air capacity from Canada was up seven percent and fall bookings were looking strong. It’s not business as usual in The Bahamas, that will be years away, but this is a major step to be present in the Canadian market to regain momentum.”
MOTA Director General Joy Jibrilu said it was “critical” for the delegation to carry out a media blitz in Canada.
“Following Hurricane Dorian, we felt that it was absolutely critical to come and let the Canadian market know that we are open for business and to introduce The Bahamas to new aspects of the Canadian market,” Jibrilu said.
“As far west as Vancouver, there is huge potential to market the country. We’ve had a record-breaking year with the Canadian market and we are looking to continue that trend.”