Abaco and Grand Bahama represented 17 per cent of foreign visitor arrivals to The Bahamas in 2018
NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday admitted he would have to ‘revise’ his projection the nation would hit the seven million visitor arrival mark this year.
Speaking with reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday, D’Aguilar acknowledged Hurricane Dorian impacted Abaco and Grand Bahama collectively represented 17 per cent of this nation’s foreign visitor arrivals in 2018.
“Our numbers for September haven’t been put together as yet to see the impact but there is no doubt that in 2018 those two islands represented about 17 per cent of our foreign visitor arrivals. That is a huge number and our overall visitor arrivals are going to be impacted,” said Mr. D’Aguilar.
He pointed to negative publicity surrounding the storm’s impact, which has impacted other islands unaffected by the Category 5 hurricane.
“Some of the family islands have been quite impacted by this negative public relations where The Bahamas has been destroyed and wiped out. What we have been trying to say is The Bahamas is open for business, there are many different islands and so come to our country, visit our country and help us recover,” he said.
Mr. D’Aguilar added, “I was very very optimistic and convinced that we’re going to hit the seven million mark. I was very upbeat. Obviously I have to revise those projections. We have lost Grand Bahama and Abaco. Between those two destinations in 2018 we received 1.1 million visitors, about 200,00 were stopovers between the two destinations and the rest were cruise passengers.”
Mr D’Aguilar noted that during recent trips to Canada and New York he along with senior tourism executives sought to ‘get the word out’ that The Bahamas remains open for business as 14 of its 16 major destinations were not impacted by Dorian.
D’Aguilar said that while a number of hoteliers on New Providence are reporting decreased bookings in September and October, Thanksgiving and Christmas are ‘still holding’.
“I have spoken to a number of the hoteliers on Nassau and while they have noticed a decrease in their bookings for September and October, certainly Thanksgiving and Christmas are still holding firm,” said D’Aguilar.