NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Insisting that the Minnis administration has demonstrated it is the better steward of the country’s fiscal affairs when compared to its predecessors, Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar revealed yesterday that stopover visitor numbers were up 17.1 per cent as of November 30, 2018.
“For the 11 months ended November 30, 2018, preliminary data reveals that the number of foreign visitors to our country increased by a whopping 425,369 people or 7.7 per cent,” he said during debate on the government’s Fiscal Strategy Report.
“More importantly, stopover visitors — that portion of our foreign visitors that spend the most; in fact, 20 times more than cruise passengers — increased by 205,542 people or a mind-blowing 17.1 per cent.
According to D’Aguilar, stopover visitors contributed over $300 million to the Bahamian economy in 2018.
He also said stopover visitor numbers were up in many of the Family Islands.
Stopover visitors were up 17.6 per cent in Abaco; 28.5 per cent in Eleuthera; 8.8 per cent in San Salvador; 8.8 per cent in Andros; 18.9 per cent in the Berry Islands; 3.2 per cent in Grand Bahama and one per cent in Exuma, according to the minister.
As for 2019, the minister said projections indicate that the number of stopover visitors to The Bahamas grew by another 15 per cent last month and will grow by an additional 12 per cent this month.
D’Aguilar opined that the increased performance in tourism contributed to the 10,000-plus jobs created since the Minnis administration took office.
According to the latest Labour Force Survey, which was released last month and has a reference period of October 28, 2018, through November 4, 2018, 10,405 new jobs have been added to the economy since May 2017.
“What is so heartening to see also is that the employment gains were being driven by the private sector, and growth in the number of self-employed, and not by the government,” D’Aguilar said.
“Mr. Speaker, this Minnis-led administration is turning things around.
“Before us is a resolution to accept the Fiscal Strategy Report.
“The report shows it all.
“It tells you how well or how poorly we performed.
“The report shows you our plan for the fiscal affairs on the country.
“You can see for yourself.
“We have nothing to hide.
“We are holding ourselves accountable to the Bahamian people.
“We are being open and transparent.
“This is what you voted for us to do and this what, with the adoption of this report, we are doing.”
According to the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ Monthly Economic and Financial Developments Report for December 2018, the tourism sector’s performance over the year was maintained during December.
The report underscored information from the Nassau Airport Development Company Ltd., which showed that a 13.4 per cent increase in U.S. departures, compared to the previous year’s growth of 3.4 per cent.
“Further, the non-U.S. international component rose by 6.8 per cent, albeit a slowdown from the prior period’s 14.5 per cent expansion,” the report noted.
“Similar trends were evident over the 12-month period, as total departures strengthened by 13.8 per cent, vis-a-vis a 0.8 per cent softening in the previous year.
“There were corresponding recoveries in both U.S. and non-U.S. international traffic, of 13.2 per cent and 17.4 per cent, from declines of 0.6 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively, a year earlier.