LOOKING GOOD: Bahamas sees major uptick in flight bookings, according to US travel agency

LOOKING GOOD: Bahamas sees major uptick in flight bookings, according to US travel agency
(PHOTO: UNSPLASH/YASSINE KHALFALLI)

Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico all seeing increase

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas is seeing a significant uptick in flight bookings, according to a US online travel agency report on US traveler trends.

According to the report by CheapOair, The Bahamas and Jamaica have seen the biggest increases in airline ticket bookings of any international destination.

The Bahamas reportedly saw a 203 percent increase in flight bookings in April compared to January, while Jamaica saw a 143 percent jump in flight bookings in the same period. Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic saw a 134 percent increase, while Puerto Rico’s bookings rose by 13 percent.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar told Eyewitness News that tourism is slowly rebounding, noting that based on reports from local hotels, the booking pace is “very strong”.

“The hotels are of the view that the booking pace is very strong; that pace is greater than it was in 2019. That doesn’t mean that occupancy levels are comparable,” said D’Aguilar.

“As the vaccine rollout continues in the US, people will become more emboldened to travel. It’s difficult to say what percentage of 2019 numbers will rebound but that data that is being presented to me right now indicates a sharp rebound.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio DAguilar. (BIS PHOTO/KEMUEL STUBBS)

“Obviously, that is contingent on a number of factors. We have a part to play.”

D’Aguilar also assured that recent challenges with the health visa system due to a surge in applications have been addressed.

“That has been addressed. We directed the necessary resources there and got the numbers way down,” he said.

Last week, D’Aguilar told reporters that the government has had to adjust its manpower and approvals process to handle an “absolute explosion” in health visa applications, noting “we’re up to over 5,000 applications a day”.