NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A popular online travel company said yesterday there is a “huge opportunity” for the Caribbean to capture the demand in the international travel market, with The Bahamas ranking in the top ten of choice destinations among its membership for travel in 2020 and 2021.
Lara Barlow, Travelzoo US general manager, noted that the company was seeing bookings “at levels we weren’t anticipating”.
Travelzoo provides 30 million members with deals from more than 2,000 travel, entertainment and local companies.
Barlow was addressing a Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) webinar yesterday.
She noted that based on surveys among its membership to gauge traveler sentiment and booking patterns; while the majority would book international travel this year, most would likely travel in 2021.
According to data obtained by the company, 58 percent of those surveyed said they would travel between January to December 2021; 30 percent between September to December of this year; and 12 percent between June and August.
The Caribbean has an opportunity to capture international travel demand,” said Barlow, noting that 52 percent of survey respondents indicated that they were interested in traveling to the Caribbean in the next two years.
According to Travelzoo data, The Bahamas ranks 7th among Caribbean island destinations of choice for 2020 and 4th in 2021.
It was noted that safety is the number one factor being considered by travelers, with 67 percent of respondents indicating that it was the top consideration on whether or not to travel.
Fifty-two percent indicated that whether the destination has officially opened was the number one factor and 51 percent said that whether the destination has had consistently declining or low cases of COVID-19 as the top concern.
Eighty-one percent of respondents indicated that they would likely stay at a hotel or resort during their next Caribbean vacation, with cleanliness and hygiene a major concern.
“People are looking for deals,” she said.
“We are actually seeing e a surge in bookings and business during this time.We are seeing an uptick in volume in bookings. The pent up demand is being captured by the US, Mexico and the Caribbean. This is a huge opportunity for the Caribbean, one not seen in many years. We are seeing bookings at levels were weren’t anticipating.”