NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) recorded its highest traffic day on record last month, with Tourism officials calling visitor arrivals to The Bahamas a “banner” start to the year.
Speaking at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) tourism trade fair in Berlin, Tourism’s Director General Joy Jibrilu revealed that while LPIA hit a record in February, is not expected to be repeated for this month.
“We had a banner start for the year after having a great 2018 [and] I was cautious as to how we would sustain this, but the first quarter … we ‘ve seen double-digit growth,” she told the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
“January air arrivals were up 15 per cent. We saw that in February the Lynden Pindling International Airport, our main airport, had its busiest day on record in February. So while we see March [coming in] flat because there’s a late Easter into the first half of this year we’re seeing sustained growth.”
The Central Bank revealed that the Nassau Airport Development Company Ltd. saw total departures through the main airport- net of domestic passengers- firmed by 22.1 per cent for January 2019, outstripping the eight per cent increase a year earlier.
The Bank’s monthly report for January showed that arrivals to New Providence came in at 62.8 per cent of the total- strengthened by 30.2 per cent, compared to a 4.9 per cent contraction a year earlier, amid gains in both the sea and air segments of 36.6 per cent and 15.6 per cent, respectively.
Similarly, total visitors to Grand Bahama firmed by 20.8 per cent, a turnaround from an 18.6 per cent decrease during the previous year, supported by gains in both air arrivals at 26.6 per cent and sea traffic 19.8 per cent. However, Family Island arrivals contracted by 18.8 per cent, to reverse the 14 per cent gain of a year earlier. This outcome was underpinned, said The Bank, by a 21.3 per cent decline in the sea component-as major cruise lines decreased the number of port calls to Abaco and the Berry Islands- while visitors by air softened by 0.4 per cent.
Still, while she remained optimistic, Jibrilu said she was being cautious with expectations for the industry going forward.
“It is incumbent on all of us not to rest on our laurels but to continue spreading the message for The Bahamas, for the region and most importantly praying for a seasons where everything remains normal and calm,” she said, alluding to the upcoming hurricane season that starts in June.