One million stopover visitor arrivals within reach — projections up for next year

One million stopover visitor arrivals within reach — projections up for next year
Joy Jibrilu, director general in the Ministry of Tourism. (FILE PHOTO)

Tourism projections up for 2022 first and second quarter

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu yesterday suggested that the country could record one million stopover visitor arrivals for the year with projections for the tourism sector are trending up for the first and second quarter of 2022.

Jibrilu was speaking to reporters at a weekly media briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister.

She emphasized however that success was not necessarily in quantity but quality.

“Internally we are floating a number and when we floated that number in September that seemed like a far-off dream, she said.

“We said wow, what if we reached 1 million stopover visitors in 2021, unbelievable no one would have imagined it. That dream is a possibility and so that would be a great testament of all of the hard work being done in the destination.”

She continued: “Hotel occupancies are good but the average daily rate (ADR) has increased as well as visitor spend. We are hoping to see a real uptick in economic activity in the destination.”

According to Jibrilu, for the first and second quarter of 2022 “our projections are trending very well”.

This she said was a testament to the hard work of tourism stakeholders and effective COVID protocols.

“Our hotels are stating that they are seeing record occupancies for the Thanksgiving period,” she said.

“In fact, we are seeing occupancies in the hotels of 90percent and beyond. The numbers are above what we saw in 2019 which was a banner year for us. The good news is it’s not just hotels in Nassau Paradise Island but also the family islands who have been doing well in terms of their recovery,” said Jibrilu.

The Director-General noted that while the country’s Level 4 Centre For Disease Control (CDC) advisory did impact the group business segment of the larger hotel properties, the recent Level 3 advisory is projected to have a positive impact. 

“If we look at our major resort properties a lot of their business predicates on group business as they have large conference facilities, meeting rooms and meeting spaces,” Jibrillu said.

“That’s the cream of their business for them. With a Level 4 rating, many companies have put in place a measure that said their companies would not travel to jurisdictions where the CDC had a Level 4 advisory and so this was having an impact on our groups, our conferences and our ability to host major events. Those events were really under question mark with a Level 4 rating. Level 3 means that every manner of business can return to this jurisdiction.”

She noted that the level of interest in The Bahamas as a destination has been tremendous. It’s upon each of us to ensure we keep this Level 3 rating and that means doing the right thing; wearing our masks, appropriate levels of sanitization, and social distancing.”

According to Jibrilu, up to 70 percent of visitors to The Bahamas are vaccinated.

“Our hotel partners are telling us and it’s been confirmed by our travel health visa that up to 70 percent of the visitors coming to The Bahamas are fully vaccinated so that’s a big plus,” said Jibrilu.