NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Ministry of Tourism has “moved away” from paying incentives to airlines and cruise lines, according to Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu.
Jibrilu underscored the ministry’s budget has been slashed by 20 percent, adding it will seek to leverage social media and partnerships to promote the destination to its key source markets.
She furthered that with U.S. elections set for November, the Ministry will not be not be marketing heavily in that market due to the exorbitant cost to do so.
Jibrilu spoke at a Minister’s Report press conference yesterday.
“Through all the ministries budgets were cut at the beginning of this budget period for 202/2021,” she said.
“The Ministry of Tourism was no exception. We saw a 20 percent cut in order budget. Our budget was greatly reduced.That is why we are not going strong between now and the U.S. elections.
“It doesn’t make sense, we cannot pay the cost all the US outlets are charging,” said Jibrilu.
“We are utilizing and will continue to utilize every single arm of social media, leveraging partnerships and relationships.”
According to Jibrilu, the Ministry of Tourism will be putting out branded advertisements in partnership with Expedia for the Thanksgiving and Christmas period.
“We moved away from paying incentives to airlines and cruise lines,” she said.
“Interestingly enough some our our airline partners have come to the table and said things have been so difficult for us what can you offer us by way of incentives. We do not want to go down that route again but we are always interested in doing a cooperative marketing campaign and tag our airline partners. The airlines are happy with this type of arrangement.”
According to Jibrilu, data suggests the country remains a top destination for travelers in key source markets, like the United States and Canada.
She said based on data from Bahamas.com, travelers were eyeing November and December vacation dates.
However, she said the booking window widens from 60-90 and even 120 days out when new travel protocols are announced.
She said this should return to normal when consumer confidence returns, noting that clear travel information and a flexible cancellation policy and among the top concerns for travelers.
The Ministry of Tourism is promoting a “Vacation in Place” initiative for 14 days or the length of a travelers stay – whichever is shorter.
Guests will have access to all amenities, including hotel spas, gyms, bars and more. The reopening of attractions, excursions and tours is set for November 1.
Effective, September 1, 2020, the government of The Bahamas announced new entry requirements, including an approved Bahamas Health Visa available at travel.gov.bs and proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test.
The test must be taken no more than five days prior to arrival. The only applicants who are not required to provide a COVID-19 test are children under the age of ten, as well as pilots and crew who remain overnight in The Bahamas.