NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government has once again admitted that a trend in granting approvals to cruise lines for private islands may be taking much-needed foot traffic further away from the local retailers in the capital. It’s an effect opposite to an uptick in passenger arrivals – and economic activity – these mega cruise liners are expected to create.
“In New Providence, total visitor arrivals firmed by 4.1 percent, with air arrivals advancing by 19.2 per cent to 1.2 million, while the sea component fell by 1.5 per cent to 2.6 million, reflecting cruise lines’ shift to making their private islands the first port of entry, as opposed to the Capital,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday, during his contribution to the mid-year budget statement.
It’s unclear at this time if and how the government intends to make up for this shortfall that amounts to around 40k yearly in arrivals to New Providence. Earlier data released by Tourism revealed that total cruise passenger arrivals to the nation increased, with total visitor arrivals to the Family Islands improving by 14.9 per cent.
Still, arrivals to the nation are expected to rise overall – in line with what is expected for the region.
“The outlook for Caribbean tourism in 2019 is cautiously optimistic,” Ryan Skeete, the CTO’s Director of Research & IT said earlier in February. “Global demand for international travel is expected to remain strong, underpinned by healthy economic activity.
“The numbers in October confirmed the recovery, with a healthy 11.8 per cent growth, and by the end of the year tourist arrivals in the last four months were up 9.8 per cent.”
In a recent region-wide press conference, officials revealed The Bahamas was one of several countries that recorded double-digit growth in overall arrivals, along with Guyana, Belize, St, Kitts & Nevis, The Cayman Islands and Grenada.