Bahamas Enjoying Historic Visitor Numbers

written by BVC April 17, 2019
A row of cruise ships at a port in Nassau Bahamas.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has heralded the highest number of international arrivals ever, resulting in record hotel occupancy levels. The Bahamas won numerous tourism industry awards and media accolades in 2018 and 2019. The Bahamas began 2019 strong with the launch of a new, brand campaign highlighting the beauty and authenticity of its 16 islands in partnership with Lenny Kravitz, urging travelers to Fly Away to The Bahamas. The Ministry also announced exciting plans for the development of a state-of-the-art cruise port in Nassau.

“It is my great pride and pleasure to report that The Bahamas is experiencing its strongest tourism numbers ever on record,” said Tourism Minister, Dionisio D’Aguilar. “We look forward to building upon the success of our progressive plans and continuing the momentum in 2019 as we forge ahead with exciting new initiatives.”

The Ministry’s data partner, ForwardKeys, that tracks and reports inbound visitor data 365 days in advance from key designated marketing areas, reported that international arrivals to The Bahamas grew by 15 percent in January 2019 versus January 2018. Several important markets registered double-digit growth. In February, foreign visitors increased by 11.1 percent year-over-year. The forward booking situation for the next three months (March to May) is optimistic, with forward bookings running 9 percent ahead for international arrivals. April (ahead by 15.6 percent) shows the most favorable outlook.

Air capacity grew by 20 percent in January year-over-year, with a robust seat growth from the best-connected international markets – the USA (+23.9 percent) and Canada (+12.7 percent). The USA and Canada will continue to lead the capacity growth in the next three months. The growth trend continues, as international air capacity grew by nearly 21 percent year-over-year in February.

Last year was a record-breaking year for the cruise ship industry and stopover arrivals. By the end of 2018, foreign air and sea arrivals had totaled more than 6.6 million visitors, a drastic increase from the 6.1 million recorded in 2017. Stopover visitors alone had increased 16.7 percent in 2018, as compared to 2017, and Freeport saw a surge of sea visitors by 49 percent.

The Nassau and Paradise Island hotel industry reported a spike in average daily room rates and revenue per available room in 2018 compared to 2017. The year ended with room revenues up 34 percent, gains not seen in the past 10 years.

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