Categorized | National News

Tourism Ministry Expands Latin American Market Reach

The Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday announced plans to expand its reach in the Latin American market, which according to officials, is a market poised to see tremendous economic development in the coming years.

In fact, senior tourism officials announced that the ministry is getting set to meet with at least two airline carriers in the Latin American market.

Before Copa Airlines came to The Bahamas in June 2011 visitor arrivals from the Latin American region were virtually nil compared to the number of visitors coming from North America.

It’s a market – which before that time – only accounted for about two per cent of the country’s annual visitors.

And according to Tourism Director General David Johnson, the numbers have increased by 30 per cent.

Needless to say, Mr. Johnson said Copa Airlines has been performing admirably.

“Copa ended its first year with load factors averaging over 84 per cent,” Mr. Johnson said while announcing plans to take advantage of the Latin American region.

“We are still convinced that we can see more service from Copa. But there are still some challenges we have in terms of making it easier for more Latin American visitors to come to the country.”

And despite those challenges, Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) Executive Vice President Frank Comito said the Latin American market is one of the world’s fastest growing economic regions, making it perfect for business.

“Since 2000, over 15 million more people have joined the middle class. Brazil and Mexico are expected to be among the top 10 economies in the world in just eight years. So the potential is just tremendous,” Mr. Comito said.

In fact, Mr. Johnson said the tourism ministry is getting set to meet with two additional Latin American carriers this coming September.

“I don’t want to get into details except to say that a country on our radar where we are looking at getting direct service to and from is Brazil,” he said.

“We are talking to one or two carriers in the Brazil market who have been to Nassau for the Roots Conference in January. We will follow that up at the upcoming conference in September to see if we can deliver complimentary service to Copa. ”

However, bringing these airlines here, Mr. Johnson said, requires the synergy of foreign language training and a having a variety of hotel brands.

And with Baha Mar’s completion just two years away, he said hotel variety will not be a problem.

Overall, building a better reputation in the Latin American market is now a top priority for tourism officials.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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