D’Aguilar: “We thought it was going to be a lot worse”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Tourist arrivals to The Bahamas declined by 14 per cent in September, according to Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday.
D’Aguilar told reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting that while the drop off was ‘significant’, “we thought it would be a lot worse”.
“The numbers are in for September,” he said.
“The number of foreign visitors coming to The Bahamas declined by 14 per cent. That was significant but we all know what happened in September. We thought it was going to be a lot worst.”
Mr D’Aguilar said his ministry is working as diligently as possible to get the word out that The Bahamas is ‘open for business’.
“What we found in other storms is that as the memory of the hurricane fades from the listening public it becomes easier and easier to reengage them about making a vacation to The Bahamas,” he said.
“We are kind of delighted that it is not in the news as much anymore. People are now thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and are beginning to reengage in thinking abut a holiday in The Bahamas.”
D’Aguilar indicated he is set to commence a promotional tour in the Canadian market. “I’m about to go on a trip to Canada; to go all the length and breadth of Canada because we have so much additional lift coming out of Canada to reengage the traveling public.”
In a recent tourism update, the ministry noted Grand Bahama is already rebounding with many of its hotels and attractions reopened and plans for its airport to resume international service soon.
The Grand Bahama International Airport is expected to welcome its first international commercial flight post Dorian on November 15.
Modular buildings for both international and domestic terminals will be procured and outfitted with the necessary equipment required to meet international standards.
The Ministry underscored the Abacos face a longer road to recovery, but maintained the country remains resilient and steadfast in its commitment to help the island rebuild by maintaining a healthy flow of tourism – which accounts for half of the country’s GDP – to the islands that were not affected by the storm.