“So far, only the stopover market has benefited from tourism restart”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Total foreign arrivals fell by nearly 80 percent in March, extending the nearly 60 percent decline in the same period last year, the Central Bank has reported.
According to the Central Bank’s Monthly Economic and Financial Developments report for March, total foreign arrivals fell by 79.2 percent during that month, extending the 59.7 percent decline in the same period last year, when the virus’ effect was only felt partially during the month.
“Underlying this development, air arrivals decreased by 25.5 percent, albeit after a loss of 62.5 percent in 2020, reflective of the reopening of international borders — but with health precautions in place,” the regulator noted.
“However, in the absence of cruise traffic, the dominant sea segment contracted by 97.2 percent and extending the 58.6 percent falloff in 2020.”
The Central Bank noted that during the three months to March, total arrivals were off by 93.2 percent, extending the 14.7 percent reduction registered last year.
“Contributing to this out-turn was the absence of cruise visitors, which eliminated virtually all sea passengers, as compared to a 10.5 percent fall-off last year,” it noted.
“Similarly, air arrivals contracted by 70.4 percent, vis-à-vis the 28 percent decline in 2020.”
Data from the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) showed that total departures — net of domestic passengers — reduced by 64.5 percent, extending the 45.8 percent falloff in the prior period. The dominant US component fell by 59.2 percent, continuing the 46.5 percent decline during the same period last year. During the first quarter, outward-bound traffic contracted by 80.7 percent, outpacing the 13.8 percent decline recorded in the previous year.
Central Bank Governor John Rolle noted: “Despite a gradual reopening of tourism, the industry remained significantly behind the performance levels of 2020. Relatively, the onshore business resumption has been faster for the Family Islands than for New Providence and Grand Bahama; while domestic tourism provided healthy support for the vacation rental market.”
He added: “So far, only the stopover market has benefited from the restart. Cruise activity is still only expected to resume after homeporting arrangements from inside The Bahamas begin over the summer months — which could take advantage of a significantly vaccinated American population and pent-up travel demand.”