Categorized | National News

Tourism Numbers Set to Break Record

By Licec Bastian
Journal Staff Writer

It’s official, The Bahamas is on target to welcome more than eight million visitors this
year which smashes the banner year of 2019’s record.
Tourism, Investments and Aviation Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper
revealed the number of tourists arrivals in country in the first three quarters of 2023 in
the House of Assembly on Monday, numbers which pace 60 percent ahead of 2022
levels and more than 30 percent of record pre-pandemic levels.
“I am thrilled, Mr. Deputy, to announce that at of the end of September this year we
have surpassed 7.2 million tourist arrivals,” the DPM said.
“Now, that number might sound familiar it’s the number that was posted in 2019 for
the entire year, which was a record setting year in the history of the Commonwealth of
The Bahamas.
“Which means as I stand here today, we have exceeded the full year 2019 numbers
already at the end of September. So, that record has fallen, and this year is already our
new record year.
“Today is a new record. Tomorrow is a new record. This week will set a new record
and every day after, every day for the remainder of this year, will be setting a new
benchmark for tourism arrivals in our country.”
Under the watch of the engine that drives the economy, tourism has seen an increase
in new visitors and an increase in air traffic from almost every market.
DPM Cooper said what was done in all of 2019 was done within nine months this
“There were 7.2 million arrivals by air and sea from January through the end of
September,” the tourism minister said.
“The breakdown is 1.3 million came by air and 5.8 million came by sea as the total
arrivals [are] outpacing 2019 by 33 percent.

“Total foreign air and sea arrivals were higher in January, February, March, April –
every single month of the year, even September, the slow month, compared to the
same months of 2022 and 2019.
“In September, year-to-date 2023, foreign air and sea arrivals increased by 50 percent
compared to the same period of 2022.”
The breakdown of tourism numbers also show that Cruise arrivals are up 60 percent
over 2022 and 45 percent ahead of 2019.
As for foreign air arrivals, or stopover visitors, that category is also up 20 percent.
With some 16 island destinations, The Bahamas’ biggest market for visitors remain
the United States, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe; however, the
destination is also seeing visitors from Latin America returning to pre-pandemic
As for countries like Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Australia, traffic has also
greatly increased.
“When we came to office, we promised you that we would not be Nassau centric and
we have provided a full push of our 16-island destinations, all are seeing steady
growth,” Deputy Prime Minister Cooper said.
“I said to Prime Minister Davis [Sunday], Cat Island is posting growth in line with
Exuma of 11 percent. But there is even better news. Berry Islands up 36 percent;
Eleuthera up 44 percent; Abaco up 38 percent overall with air arrivals up 31 percent.
“And notwithstanding the prophets of gloom and doom, Grand Bahama is up 64
percent, and Central Grand Bahama is leading growth in air arrivals with an increase
of 43.6 percent.
“And Bimini, we want you to know that we’re fighting for you. Bimini, you are up by
138 percent.
“And I don’t just want you to take my word for it; this activity is being felt throughout
the economy.
“It’s being felt in the pockets of taxi drivers, hair braiders, straw vendors, tour
operators, waiters and scooter renters, all say things are good and getting better!”

DPM Cooper contends that what is being seen now is the effect of strategic planning
with hotel and cruise operators’ continued confidence the in the strength of The
Bahamas’ brand.
“We returned tourism numbers to pre-pandemic levels and better, as promised, with
strategic partnerships, laser focus on results, increased airlift, successful promotion,
strengthening relationships with partners, and trade missions improving our
visibility,” he added.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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