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Bahamas Improves Ranking as a Caribbean Destination

Caribbean Study reveals that The Bahamas “leapfrogged Jamaica”

The Bahamas ranked among the top ten Caribbean countries in culture, entertainment, culinary and adventure, and “leapfrogged” Jamaica to claim the number four spot in absolute rankings, according to the 2016 Caribbean Tourism Quality Index Resonance Report.

“The Bahamas leapfrogged Jamaica in this year’s absolute ranking, the report states.

“While the Baha Mar bankruptcy means there won’t be a mega-resort anytime soon, [The Bahamas] still attracts the second highest number of visitors to the Caribbean, and ranks first overall for food and drink experiences, such as food and brewery tours, cooking classes and bustling food markets.”

Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba claimed the top three spots this year in absolute rankings. Jamaica claimed the fifth spot. Last year, The Bahamas ranked fifth.

The report was released during Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Caribbean Week in New York this week, where The Islands of The Bahamas had a strong presence.

The study measures tourism’s supply-side performance and competitiveness in 28 destinations across the Caribbean. The absolute rankings are based on the total number of very good or excellent experiences in each country according to thousands of visitor reviews on TripAdvisor and other social media.

In culinary rankings, The Bahamas is fourth. In the sightseeing category, The Bahamas is ranked fifth.

The country is ranked sixth in entertainment; fourth in sports and adventure; third in top hotel and lodges an fourth in top culture rankings.

The report notes that development in the hotel sector still continues despite Baha Mar’s troubles.

“The Bahamas is rated third for hotel and lodging offerings despite the failure of the huge and holy anticipated Baha Mar resort,” the report states.

“And it hasn’t stopped other developers from opening new destinations. The four-star Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas, opening in October2016, brings adult only all-inclusive lodging to luxurious new heights.”

Since the information for the study was garnered, there has been some movement in the Baha Mar negotiations.

Prime Minister Perry Christie announced last month that the Export-Import Bank of China and China State Construction and Engineering Corporation has entered a framework agreement to remobilize construction to complete Baha Mar.

As it relates to sports and adventure, the study points out that beaches, boat tours and watersports are among the favorites in ranking activity.

“Almost half of the top 25 outdoor activities were adventure-related and the more unique – like deep sea shipwreck diving in [The Bahamas] or riding a futuristic underwater motor scooter – the more a destination can appeal to experience seekers and adrenalin junkies,” the report states.

CTO Chairman Richard Sealy said the future for Caribbean travel is bright but admonished tourism officials to continue to work to improve their product offerings.

“The year 2015 was a record year in terms of travelers to the region,” he said during a press conference on Thursday.

“Twenty eight million people journeyed to the Caribbean.

“Two thousand and sixteen is also trending to see an increase over 2015. In fact, for the first quarter we are seven percent up, so it means if we continue on this course — we were just under thirty million in 2015 — we will be just over 30 million in 2016, which would be a record.

“So that news is very good and is very encouraging.

“But we recognize that having got the visitors into the region, we have to make sure if we are going to have maximum impact on our economies that there are things for them to do,” Sealy added.

The Bahamas participated in several events during Caribbean week including the Student Colloquium, Media Marketplace, marketing workshops and others. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism also hosted two successful signature events during the week – Date Night and Party In Da Backyard – which were attended by hundreds of New Yorkers, Bahamians living in the tri-state area, travel agents and media.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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