Jibrilu: Fall bookings ‘surprisingly strong’

Jibrilu: Fall bookings ‘surprisingly strong’
Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu (BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Hotel bookings for the Fall are ‘surprisingly strong’, according to Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu.

Jibrilu told Eyewitness News said that tourism officials are ‘cautiously optimistic’ of a strong rebound for the country’s number one industry over the next 12 months.

She was addressing a Ministry of Tourism Yachting Webinar on Tuesday noted that indicators for The Bahamas are surprisingly ‘quite positive’ given the current circumstances.

The travel and tourism industry globally has been dealt a devastating blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally, most hotel properties have delayed their reopening to the Fall.

“When we started looking at market research in April at the onset of lockdowns when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic at that time we saw the indicators were that by the third quarter of this year, the fourth quarter and definitely into 2021 a rebound was anticipated in the travel and tourism industry,” said Jibrilu.

“In fact it was expected that there would be a quicker rebound following COVID-19 than any other pandemic.

“For the Bahamas the indicators are quite positive which is surprising given the circumstances. From our source market in North America people are still interested in traveling to The Bahamas and if you look at bookings for the fourth quarter they are quite strong, surprisingly strong.”

She said: “By 2021, all things being considered and having a handle on how to manage COVID-19 until a vaccine comes about we are cautiously optimistic of a strong rebound in the next 12 months.”

Jibrilu noted that for the first half of the year stopover tourism was down by 67 per cent compared to the first half of 2019.

In the Central Bank’s quarterly economic and financial developments report for June it was noted that total visitor arrivals contracted by 14.7 percent during the three months to March, reversing the 12.3 percent increase over the same period of the prior year.

Air arrivals fell by 28 percent, a reversal from the 17.3 percent expansion in 2019. Sea arrivals declined by 10.5 percent vis-à-vis the 10.8 percent growth in 2019.