D’Aguilar: Too early to tell coronavirus hit to Tourism sector

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Tourism arrivals for the first two months of the year have been on par with the same period last year according to Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, who noted that it is still too early to tell how significant a hit the sector will take from the Coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking with Eyewitness News Mr D’Aguilar said: “It is too early to say. We don’t get your numbers that quickly. There is always about a 30-60 day lag so we don’t have that information yet. I think the entire planet is concerned about the Coronavirus. It’s obviously affecting people’s travel choices. How that is playing out for The Bahamas is yet to be seen. We remain hopeful. Obviously there were a lot of people planning on travelling to Asia who are not any more and if they are still mined to travel perhaps the Caribbean is deemed as safe alternative.”

He added: “I just think everyone on the planet is being bombarded by so much information it causes everyone a deep level of concern. We will just have to see how it plays out.”

Speaking to the tourism segments performance for the first two months of the year Mr D’Aguilar said: “January and February were approximately the same as 2019 which is good news given the effects of hurricane Dorian. We were delighted to see we were maintaining those numbers. Obviously we don’t have February’s numbers completed yet but January’s numbers were flat on last year but I consider that a success given the fact that Abaco and Grand Bahama are still recovering from the effects of hurricane Dorian. We Are waiting for our February numbers to come in and we will assess that but we remain hopeful and will monitor the situation closely.”