BOOMING: Record-breaking year for Tourism continues

BOOMING: Record-breaking year for Tourism continues
The Bahamas. (BAHAMAS.COM)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Tourism performance has outpaced projections for the first seven months of 2023, with The Bahamas recording more than 5.89 million arrivals from January through the end of July, according to government officials. 

According to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, current tourism performance puts the country well on the way to closing out the year at 8 million plus visitors.  

Of the almost 6 million total visitors who came to The Islands of The Bahamas in the first seven months of the year, 1,133,494 arrived by air and 4,759,624 by sea.

July year-to-date arrivals are pacing 59 percent ahead of 2022 and 30 percent ahead of 2019, which is the busiest year on record.  

Comparing 2023 overall arrivals by month, March arrivals peaked at 951,311, making it the busiest arrivals month in our history. 

During the entirety of 2022, 1,470,244 visitors came to our shores by air; another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea. 

Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation I. Chester Cooper credited the “vibrancy of The Bahamas’ brand, methodical business strategies and the hard work of tourism industry professionals and stakeholders” for the strong metrics.

“We are seeing record arrivals, because we have all worked together to resuscitate our tourism industry, coming out of the pandemic, and, because we continue to improve our tourism product,” Cooper said.

Officials also revealed several other promising statistics for the country’s predominant industry.

In 2023, Major hotels in Nassau and Paradise Island eclipsed occupancy rates of corresponding periods in 2019 and 2022.

Average Daily Rate (ADR) is up an average of 59 percent compared to 2019 and room revenues are up 42% for the same period.

More than 60 percent of visitors came to The Bahamas for the first time, with arrivals from nearly every region showing an increase over the same period last year. 

In the cruise business, The Port of Nassau welcomed the largest share of cruise arrivals, followed by The Berry Islands (Coco Cay), Bimini (mainland and Ocean Cay), Half Moon Cay, Grand Bahama and Abaco (Castaway Cay).

Overall cruise arrivals, January through July, are up 72.1 percent over the corresponding period last year, and 43 percent ahead of the 2019 historic cruise arrival figures.

Overall air stopover arrivals, which represent “heads in beds”, surpassed the same period 2022 numbers by 24 percent, and matched 2019 figures.  

The destination’s biggest market for visitors remains the United States, representing 90% of overall visitor arrivals, followed by Canada, and the United Kingdom and Europe.

Looking at visitor trends, from January through July, 70 percent of all stopover visitors came to The Bahamas primarily for vacation, 15 percent for weddings and honeymoons, 6 percent to play in casinos, 4 percent for business and 5 percent for “other/undisclosed” reasons.  

Cooper explained that government initiatives like the restructured Tourism Development Corporation will present entrepreneurship opportunities for Bahamians. 

“We are experiencing explosive growth in tourism that can no longer be explained by pent-up post-pandemic demand,” the Minister said. 

“Great jobs and career opportunities are to be had in tourism, but there is also massive potential for ownership. The government is putting in place systems to allow Bahamians access to the training, certification, support and capital they need to take advantage of the country’s popularity as a tourist destination.”