Categorized | Business, National News

1.8 Million Tourists Visit Bahamas In First Quarter

Over the first quarter for 2014, 1.8 million people visited The Bahamas, according to the Central Bank’s latest Quarterly Economic Review.

The report explained that there were “modest gains” in the country’s tourism output.

“The total number of arrivals firmed marginally by 0.8 per cent to 1.8 million over the first quarter of 2014, a reversal from a 3.3 per cent decline a year earlier,” the report read. “In terms of the components, the high-value added air segment rose slightly by 0.2 per cent to 345,338, vis-a-vis a 3.4 per cent contraction in 2013; however, growth in sea visitors slowed to 0.9 per cent from 5.0 per cent in the in the prior period, for a total of 1,413,332 passengers.”

According to the report, when separated by port of entry, arrivals to New Providence rose by 2.4 per cent to one million, although below the 9.8 per cent growth in 2013.

“This was primarily on account of a 2.4 per cent decrease in sea traffic, which outstripped the 4.1 per cent rise in air passengers,” the report said.

“Family Island tourists advanced by 6.5 per cent to 0.6 million, a turnaround from a 3.8 per cent reduction a year earlier, as gains in sea visitors, of 7.6 per cent, overshadowed a 2.5 per cent falloff in air passengers,” it continued. “In contrast, the on-going weakness in the Grand Bahama market was evidenced in a more marked reduction in arrivals of 22 per cent relative to 5.8 per cent in 2013, as the 29.7 per cent contraction in the dominant sea component offset the 32.5 per cent rise in air traffic.”

The report also noted that total room revenue fell by 0.4 per cent to $137.5 million.

In New Providence room revenue contracted by 2.9 per cent while in Grand Bahama room revenue increased by 20.2 per cent.

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe recently told the Bahama Journal that more airlift is expected to the country over the next several months.

“Over the next several months we are preparing to see new airlift come on board in November and December,” he said.

“You are going to see a series of things not only for New Providence but the Family Islands as well. We feel that we are going to have the peak capacity to do what we need to do and airlift is crucial to that. You have to appreciate in the world particularly in the United States, that a four per cent increase in the economy was experienced in the last quarter which means that we could be on a trend that will continue to grow the job market.”

He said that means more than 200,000 jobs are being added on a monthly basis in the country’s main market – the United States.

“With the uptick in economic trends, you will see more disposable income which bodes well for the tourism industry,” the tourism minister said.

“This means people will travel more. We are also working aggressively on our marketing strategy. Marketing, inventory and airlift all go together and we feel the inventory levels are going up, more airlift is coming on stream as we expect to have an announcement very soon and our marketing team is doing well.”

Southwest Airlines recently added a direct flight from Baltimore to New Providence.

Sources within the ministry claim that more flights will be added from Europe as well as Asia.
Earlier this year ministry officials held meeting with several airlines including US Airways, Jet Blue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
In addition, US Airways continues to provide year-round or seasonal non-stop air service from its Charlotte hub, Philadelphia, and Cleveland to Nassau/Paradise Island.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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