Categorized | National News

Minister To Address FI Airlift Challenge

With Tourism numbers up for New Providence and with the number one tourism industry making significant strides, Minister of Tourism, Dionisio D’Aguilar says his Ministry has to find ways to improve airlift in the Family Islands.

Mr. D’Aguilar says, “the promotion board that deals with the family islands has been making the case that one of the reasons that their occupancies are so low is because they have a lift problem and the cost to get there is an issue.

“So, I met with them to address this issue and we’re coming up with some solutions or some prospected solutions to improve airlift to some of these islands.

“I wanted to get a feel in every island what are we talking about, how many rooms and what is your expectation; what is the number of people you expect and you want to go into these islands; and then we can start to come together with a cohesive strategy on how to address this issue,” Mr. D’Aguilar said.

Mr. D’Aguilar added that the industry is looking to improve travel particularly to Southern Bahamas.

“The number of rooms in Acklins, Crooked Island, and Mayaguana are so small, it’s, hard to sustain airlift to those islands, which such a small supply of hotel rooms.

“So, I’m trying to see how best to address that,” Mr. D’Aguilar said.

He noted that the ministry is trying to address the age-old problem that has been going on for year.

“Bahamasair of course, has their smallest plane which is 50 seats, so sometimes it just doesn’t make sense for them to go there. Economically it doesn’t make since.

“We are trying to see how we can get the smaller planes and the smaller operators to put in regular service. The problem is [that] they don’t have regular service; this is what’s impeding their ability to grow.

“We are definitely trying to address it, it’s very much on my radar, high on my list of priorities,” Mr. D’Aguilar said.

“We are trying to see how we can use Bahamasair  or if that airline isn’t the ideal carrier, then some of the local carriers; guarantee them routes and see how we can incentivize them to do that,” he said

As for ways that can improve airlift, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Joy Jibrilu says the ministry is partnering with the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board to promote Domestic Tourism.

“We know that the Bahamas is the place that everyone comes for vacation, so why are we [Bahamians] leaving it, why are we not taking advantage of it?

“I’m going to put it another way, if we look at Nassau, and we ask Nassauvians ‘how many of you have traveled to Long Island, to Exuma, to Eleuthera, we’ll find that many of them would say ‘no, I’ve not done it. I’d like to, but I’ve not done it’,” Mrs. Jibrilu said.

However, Mrs. Jibrilu added that domestic traveling is costly, and said that the promotion being done by the Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board is to attract domestic travelers.

“We’re in partnership with the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board, one of the things that we’re doing with all the member hotels there is the Resident Two Fly Free Program.

“So, for everyone who books a vacation to a Family Island and stays at one of the member property hotels, they can travel with another person free. So that immediately reduces cost.

“It is being so hugely successful, it has turned around the mindset of Bahamians who have taken advantage of it,” Mrs. Jibrilu said.

She added that as the ministry continues with its promotion more opportunities will become available.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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