D’Aguilar says tourism numbers continue to rise

Minister of Tourism, Dionisio D'Aguilar.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Tourism minister Dionisio D’Aguilar revealed to Eyewitness News Online that tourism figures, throughout the islands of The Bahamas, continue to prove promising in 2019.

Earlier this year, tourism officials confirmed that stop-over arrivals spiked in January and February; but, D’Aguilar has asserted that the increase in tourist arrivals has not seen a decrease in the months that have followed.

“At the start of the year we had an unprecedented growth in stop-over arrivals. Up 23 percent; that is phenomenal,” he said.

“I continue to say that the country is on fire and we continue to do exceptionally well in terms of tourist arrivals and when you factor in cruise arrivals the overall uptick in tourist arrivals for the first two months of this year is slightly over 16 percent.

“This is phenomenal and the trend has continued since then.”

The uptick is not just being experienced in New Providence, according to the tourism minister.

“All of the islands are doing very well,” he confirmed.

“Even Grand Bahama had an increase in stop-over visitors of either percent. Exuma and Eleuthera are both up over 20 per cent. Abaco is between 15 and 17 per cent.

“So, this is definitely being felt throughout the length and breadth of The Bahamas.”

D’Aguilar said hotels have reported exceptional numbers due to the increased amount of visitor arrivals.

“Even in Nassau we are doing very well, and one might say it is because of Baha Mar, but, we are noticing that all of the hotels are doing very well,” he said.

“There has been no cannibalization in occupancy and no reduction in room rates.

“So, the hotels are all doing really well.”

The tourism minister admitted that his ministry’s multi-million-dollar public relations campaign which was released in February is responsible for a majority of the heightened interest in The Bahamas.

The campaign entitled, “Fly Away,” features international rock star Lenny Kravitz who has Bahamian roots tied to the island of Eleuthera.

The ad campaign adapted a storytelling format which invites its viewers to enjoy culturally rich experiences which are marketed as individual and unique on every island in the country.

The campaign was launched in New York City and was the first time that the Ministry of Tourism rebranded its international campaign in the past six years.