Arrivals projected to decrease by 10 percent in 2019

Arrivals projected to decrease by 10 percent in 2019
Minister of Tourism Dionisio D'Aguilar speaks to reporters outside the Churchill Building (file photo).

Tourism Ministry adjusting marketing spend to combat Dorian fall-out

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Stop-over arrivals to The Bahamas in 2019 are projected to decrease just under 10 percent compared to last year, according to Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.

D’Aguilar said his ministry has had to adjust its marketing spend to combat the negative fall-out from Hurricane Dorian.

“There has been a lot of negative public relations about The Bahamas being destroyed,” he said. “People are concerned when booking their holidays that they going to come to country that’s been destroyed and decimated, even though we have been trying to get the message out that that is not the case and only two islands have been impacted we have definitely seen a fall-off in our bookings.

“If you look through the end of the year we are projecting just under a 10 percent decrease this year over last year.”

D’Aguilar continued: “That is for two reasons: the negative public relations about The Bahamas, and secondly we don’t have Abaco and Grand Bahama in our inventory. They represented about 12 per cent of our stop over visitors last year.

“With them being out of commission you are naturally going to see a decrease. Our decrease is around nine per cent as opposed to a full twelve per cent so we are a little encouraged by that.”

However, Mr D’Aguilar said tourism numbers should begin to rebound by early next year.

“That’s the nature of tourism,” he said. “It is resilient  and subject to a number fo shocks, hurricanes, travel
advisories but short term memory is very short and it bounces back. We are expecting that to happen.”

According to D’Aguilar, the Ministry of Tourism has been very hyper focused on getting the message out that the country is still open for business.

“Just last week I spent four hours on televisions stations in the US,” he continued. “I was just going for one city to the next in prime time slots in major cities getting the message out that The Bahamas is open for business and the best way to help The Bahamas is to visit the Bahamas. Given our dependence on tourism.”

D’Aguilar explained the Ministry of Tourism has had to adjust its marketing spend to combat the negative fall-out from Hurricane Dorian.

“I think what we have done is brought our spend forward,” he said. “Obviously we had it mapped out over the year but given the urgency of the situation and given the fact that we really wanted to get the message out there that we are open for business we brought forward a bit of our spend in order to get that message out.

“We’ll adjust,” D’Aguilar added.