The Bahamas have been a renowned tourist destination, not just in the Caribbean, but for enthusiasts from around the world.

Bahamas records massive rise in the influx of tourists

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The Bahamas have been a renowned tourist destination, not just in the Caribbean, but for enthusiasts from around the world. The Caribbean nation has built a reputation based on its beautiful beaches, scenic settings and clear blue waters. Besides that, the country is known for having some of the best hotels and resorts which offer luxurious experiences, the likes of which are hard to find elsewhere.

These and other reasons could very well be why the nation has recorded an immense rise in the number of visitors coming in recently.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the tourist numbers have exceeded expectations for the first seven months of 2023, breaking well past the projections. If it is put into numbers, The Bahamas have recorded 5.89 million arrivals from the beginning of the year till July, an astonishing number indeed.

If the current numbers persist, the nation will end the year with 8 million visitors or more, quite easily. This would be of great benefit to the nation which makes a major portion of its GDP from the tourism industry and other related enterprises.

This has been the busiest year on record with the 5,893,118 total visitors coming to the islands of the Bahamas in the first seven months of the year. 1,133,494 arrived by air and 4,759,624 by sea. July year-to-date overall arrivals are pacing 59% ahead of 2022 and 30% ahead of 2019.

Just to put this into context, during the entirety of 2022, 1,470,244 visitors came to the shores by air; another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea. Comparing 2023 overall arrivals by month, March arrivals peaked at 951,311, making it the busiest month in the nation’s history.

That is not where the good news ends though, as the overall spend by tourists has also been significantly higher.

Most importantly, New Providence hotels, which happen to be some of the largest, have recorded higher numbers of visitors and also an increase in the average duration of stay for 2023, smashing the rates in 2022 and 2019.

Average Daily Rates (ADR) are up by 59% compared to 2019 and room revenues are up by 42% for the same period. Additionally, more than 60% of the visitors were first timers and a general increase has been noticed in the rate of visits from all regions of the world. This is indeed a positive sign for the bustling tourism industry and its future.

Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, Chester Cooper gave a statement regarding this in which he said, “The stronger than expected results speak to vibrancy of the Bahamas’ brand, methodical business strategies and the hard work of tourism industry professionals and stakeholders.”

“We are seeing record arrivals, because we have all worked together to resuscitate our tourism industry, coming out of the pandemic, and, because we continue to improve our tourism product,” added DPM Chester Cooper.

The Port of Nassau also took in the largest share of cruise arrivals, followed by the Berry Islands (Coco Cay), Bimini (Mainland and Ocean Cay), Half Moon Cay, Grand Bahama and Abaco (Castaway Cay) respectively.

In general, the cruise arrival numbers are up by 72.1% compared to last year and by 43% compared to the previous best figure achieved in 2019.

The largest share of tourists came from the United States of America which made up 90% of the total number, followed by Canada and Europe. Latin American nations are showing immense growth as well.

From January through July, 70% of all stopover visitors came to the Bahamas primarily for a vacation, 15% for weddings and honeymoons, 6% to play in casinos, 4% for business and 5% for “other/undisclosed” reasons.

DPM Chester Cooper also had this to say about the impressive tourist performance. “With a better-developed downtown to complement the new cruise port and added destinations within the Bahamas coming on stream, the numbers will only continue to grow, if we continue to deliver great service and experiences.  The plan for the redevelopment of family island airports will reap rewards for Bahamians well into the future.”

“The last seven months of 2022 were the strongest in our history, prior to 2023. The first seven months of 2023 exceeded the expectations of tourism officials. Our job is to stay ahead of the demand.”

Cooper also explained that government initiatives, such as the restructured Tourism Development Corporation are bringing greater business and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“We are experiencing explosive growth in tourism that can no longer be explained by pent-up post-pandemic demand,” DPM Chester Cooper said.

“Great jobs and career opportunities are to be had in tourism, but there is also massive potential for ownership. The government is putting in place systems to allow Bahamians access to the training, certification, support and capital they need to take advantage of the country’s popularity as a tourist destination.