A Cabinet minister has called on the Bahamian tourism industry to “continuously up its game” following its record-breaking visitor arrivals performance in 2018.
“In our tourism endeavour, we are guided by a powerful mantra: ‘It’s Better in The Bahamas’,” Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation, said. “More so than describing a current state of reality, this mantra is aspirational - urging, propelling, each of us ever onward to improve the tourism product so that it indeed becomes better in The Bahamas, and The Bahamas becomes the go-to place of rejuvenation for travellers the world over.
“Let us collectively commit to continuously up our game so that The Bahamas becomes a place that those of us call home can have a better, more equitable life, and a greater stake in an industry to which two-thirds of our population gives its labour and energy.”
Mr D’Aguilar’s comments came as he announced tourism’s record-breaking 2018 performance. He said all indicators project that the upward trend will continue throughout 2019, and applauded “Team Tourism” for the role their collective efforts played in ensuring a record-breaking year.
“Tourism is a team effort. Ours is an all-encompassing team that includes me, the minister of tourism and aviation, and my tourism team throughout The Bahamas and overseas,” Mr D’Aguilar added, “our promotion boards, our hotels, large and small, our contracted marketing and advertising agencies, cruise operators, airlines, our network of travel professionals, every local tourism-related operation, each and every Bahamian who works in the industry throughout the length and breadth of The Bahamas.
“As the chief executive leading the tourism enterprise, it gives me great pleasure and pride this afternoon to report that in 2018 our collective effort has yielded results that are record-breaking. Our tourism numbers are up by 16.9 percent. All indicators project that this trend will continue throughout 2019. It will take all of us, united in effort and purpose, to sustain the growth in tourism that we have achieved over the past 12 months.”
Mr D’Aguilar said the industry’s record-breaking performance in foreign air and sea visitor arrivals to The Bahamas can be attributed to the collective efforts of the public and private sectors, and the successful elevation of the awareness and visibility of The Bahamas’ brand that was achieved via the use of a robust marketing strategy.
The Bahamas received far more visitors to its shores in 2018 - 6.6m - than in any previous year in its “entire history of being engaged” in the tourism business. The increase in 2018 was experienced nationwide - Nassau/ Paradise Island, Grand Bahama and in the major Family Islands.
Mr D’Aguilar also announced that the major hotels on Nassau and Paradise Island recorded a 34 percent increase in room revenues during 2018, gains not experienced in the past ten years.