DOUBLE UP: Government aiming to double stop-over visitor numbers in three years says DPM

DOUBLE UP: Government aiming to double stop-over visitor numbers in three years says DPM

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government is aiming to double the number of stop-over visitors to The Bahamas in three years, according to Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper,  who warned that this nation was losing ground to its regional counterparts in the tourism sector.

During his contribution to the budget debate, the Tourism, Aviation and Investment minister said: “One of the major goals we plan to achieve is to double the number of stopover visitors to The Bahamas in three years.

Exumas and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper makes his contribution during the 2022/2023 Budget debate in the House of Assembly on June 15, 2022. (BIS Photos Kemuel Stubbs)

“Simply put, they spend more. To do this, we need more airports, we need more flights, and we need more rooms. If we look at the overall picture, we get less of the market share of Caribbean tourism than we did 20 years ago. Compared to our counterparts in the Caribbean we are losing ground.”

Cooper noted that back in 1995 The Bahamas attracted over 13 percent of Caribbean arrivals but that number declined to just five percent in 2018.

In this regard, we have become somewhat of a victim of our own success in that regional competitors have made huge investments in tourism after witnessing our growth. We plan to reverse the trend of shrinking Caribbean market share in the next five years. To do this, we have to intensify the focus on marketing and promotions. We want to increase The Bahamas’ visibility and ability to capture the attention of new and past visitors.  We want to promote destination value and accessibility, including the range of accommodation options, diversity of islands, authentic experiences, and calendar of sports, events, entertainment and activities,” said Cooper.

Cooper also noted that the Davis administration has attracted $2.5 billion worth of investments to the country to-date. “In terms of investment, which goes hand in hand with tourism, we have already restructured the National Economic Council. This has already reaped significant results,” said Cooper.

He added, “We have also already started the transformation of the Bahamas Investment Authority. We’re restructuring it by revamping the organizational structure for swift and transparent investment approvals and investment promotion. The finished product will be called InvestBahamas. We are looking at that launching in September of this year. We are working to eliminate the BIA backlog and establish a digital portal for lawyers and investors to track their investment status.”


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