NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Ministry of Tourism is reporting ‘exceptionally’ strong bookings ahead of the Christmas season and leading into next year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Chester Cooper said that reports from stakeholders in major hotels across the country, verify projections that 2022 will meet pre-pandemic numbers and that 2023 will surpass those figures
“We are increasing across the board, stopovers are increasing, the cruise numbers are increasing, occupancy is up, average daily rates are up, no matter how you measure this, by whatever metrics it’s up and it continues to improve. This doesn’t happen by chance, though. We have a great team and a great strategy. We have a very, very strong brand in the world,” he said.
Cooper explained that ministry representatives and personnel have traveled to more than 10 cities on the globe, spreading the message that the country is ‘open for business’ and that ‘it’s better in The Bahamas’ consequently stimulating an increase in airlift.
“We’ve done a significant job at improving the amount of flights coming through to Nassau, Grand Bahama and the islands and the number of seats, so American Airlines from Charlotte this Saturday is going to be bringing a much larger jet than they brought previously. That’s increased seats, increased passengers, increased traffic, increased money in the pockets of the community in Grand Bahama.
“This weekend you have two flights on Saturday, by Sunwing, one from Toronto Direct, one from Montreal Direct, they’re flying here full; so we’re talking heads and beds, which is good for Grand Bahama, good for people, good for tourism, good for the Bahamas,” Cooper continued.
“And then we have the Raleigh flight direct from from Raleigh to Freeport onward to Nassau, and then we have daily flights out of the U.K.. You might have seen some of our fantastic branding and marketing on the tubes in London and on the busses and the taxicabs. We’re doing this in Toronto, we’re doing it in London, we’re doing it across the U.S.A. and our investment is paying off,” Cooper said.
With the challenge of cruise ship tourists often opting to stay on the boats, the tourism minister stated that there are several projects in the works to enhance the local tourism project and to entice cruise visitors to come off-board and spend money in the country. Furthermore as we head into next year, Cooper said that the next few months look promising with increased hotel and flight bookings and they are focused on getting visitors to spend money in The Bahamas.
“The islands are reporting very, very strong bookings over the next six months. Our airline partners are very happy, and […] we anticipate that 2023 is going to be the best year we’ve ever seen in tourism. This year we are going to meet the 2019 numbers and 2019 was a record setting year, so once we beat this year, next year, I think we’re going to be in a good place.
“It’s important that Bahamians are being empowered and benefiting from this surge that we’re seeing and team tourism is working very hard to ensure we bring the tourists here, the merchants, the vendors; Bahamians who are in business must ensure that their product is sufficiently enticing to cause them to spend, to cause them to get off the ship, get out of the hotels, to experience the tours, sights, and the shops, restaurants and clubs, whatever there are,” Cooper said.