By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Cruise visitors to the Bahamas are up 9.4 per cent for the five months to end-May 2012, with the Ministry of Tourism expecting current trends will enable this nation to beat 2011 comparatives.
Information provided to Tribune Business by the Ministry showed that cruise visitor arrivals to the Bahamas, by first port of entry, were up 11.2 per cent for the 2012 first quarter and 6.3 per cent for the first two months in the second quarter.
Carla Stuart, the Ministry of Tourism’s director of cruise development, told Tribune Business: “Thus far, the growth has been extremely positive, with growth of 11.2 per cent for the first quarter and 6.3 per cent for the second quarter.
“The year-to-date figures for May reveal an increase of 9.4 per cent overall with total arrivals at 2.03 million cruise passengers.”
Total cruise passenger arrivals were ahead of the 1.855 million who arrived on these shores during the first five months of 2011, although per capita spending (yields) by these visitors, and putting money into Bahamian businesses, are more important issues that arrivals data.
For the Bahamas as a whole, March saw the greatest growth year-over-year in 2012 at 15.9 per cent, followed by May at 14.4 per cent.
Nassau/Paradise Island continued to generate the bulk of visitor arrivals and growth, the 1.002 million cruise passengers it attracted in the first five months of 2012 some 14.7 per cent ahead of 2011 figures.
For the 2012 first quarter, cruise passenger arrivals to Nassau/Paradise Island were ahead by 11.9 per cent, and for the first two months of the second quarter they were up 19.7 per cent. May, in particularly, saw a 33.9 per cent growth from 130,530 to 174,830.
As for Grand Bahama, cruise passenger arrivals by first port of entry for the first five months in 2012 grew by 2.5 per cent, from 275,628 in 2011 to 282,602 this year.
First quarter numbers were up 4.1 per cent, although this growth eased to 0.3 per cent for the first two months of the 2012 second quarter.
As for the Family Islands, total cruise passenger arrivals for the first five months of 2012 were ahead by 5.5 per cent, standing at 744,057 compared to 705,023.
Arrivals were up 12.8 per cent for the 2012 first quarter, although they fell year-over-year by 6.8 per cent for the first two months of the second quarter when it came to Family Island visitor numbers.