Categorized | National News

Tourism Numbers “Good” For Summer

The tourism industry has performed well during the summer months to date, according to Minister of Tourism, Obie Wilchcombe.

According to the minister, air and cruise ship arrivals were up slightly compared to numbers from last summer.

“The country has been performing well,” he said.

“We are doing pretty good. We have to work on the fall right now but generally we are doing alright. Our airlift is up and we are seeing an increase there as well. The cruise ship business is also doing well. I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head right now but the truth is that we are doing quite well.”

According to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, The Bahamas received approximately 1.34 million tourists last year – representing over a 2 percent decline compared to 2010.

“We are putting in a new paradigm under my watch and that’s what we are paying attention to,” Mr. Wilchcombe told the Bahama Journal.

“We want to have a system that will put us back to where we were the leaders in tourism. We are on the road and making some connections. We will be in a position to make some major announcements in the coming weeks and we’re very proud about that.”

According to Mr. Wilchcombe, air arrivals are crucial to the economy in a broader sense.

Mr. Wilchcombe said last month that part of the strategy for tourism will be a continued focus on emerging markets.

“We will begin the process immediately, going after new routes and new destinations to fly into The Bahamas,” he said recently.

“We have a good presence in North America, but we want to integrate the South American and Asian markets because we feel like those regions have potential to work here. It’s extremely important considering the high level of unemployment right now [with] the record number of unemployment particularly in Grand Bahama, so immediately we have to cause for more opportunities to be had. People want to work, but they’re not going to be able to work unless we create the job opportunities for them.”

The tourism minister said the industry has a way of creating a lot of linkages and a lot of other jobs are created because of the tourism industry.

The Ministry of Tourism announced on Tuesday 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.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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