Minister: Tourism Numbers Up 16.9 Percent

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff


Tribune Freeport Reporter


FOLLOWING “record-breaking” results in 2018 of 6.6 million visitor arrivals to The Bahamas, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar reported that tourism numbers are up by 16.9 percent and that the trend is projected to continue throughout 2019.

While in Grand Bahama on Wednesday, Mr D’Aguilar noted that in 2018 almost 500,000 more visitors came to The Bahamas.

According to the minister, foreign air and sea arrivals in 2018 totaled 6.6 million visitors, compared to 6.1 million in 2017. This resulted in an increase of 486,176 more visitors in 2018, he said.

“As a nation, we have been seriously engaged in the tourism business for about six decades. The research has been done, and I can now unequivocally assert that The Bahamas received in 2018 far more visitors than in any year of its entire history of tourism endeavour,” stated Mr D’Aguilar.

The tourism minister noted that the increase in tourism business in 2018 was experienced nationwide in Nassau – Paradise Island, in Grand Bahama, and in the major Family Islands.

He provided the breakdown of the figures in terms of percentage comparison. He stated that foreign air and sea arrivals to the Bahamas were up by 7.9 percent between January to December 2018, compared to the same period of 2017.

He further noted that foreign air arrivals alone were up 16.7 percent between January to December 2018, compared to 2017.

In Nassau/Paradise Island, the minister reported that air arrivals were up in every month of 2018 compared to 2017, and that major hotels in Nassau and Paradise Island recorded a 34 percent increase in room revenues, gains not experienced in the past 10 years.

In Grand Bahama, Mr D’Aguilar said there was a 9.1 percent year over year increase in overall visitor arrivals, and that Family Islands received similar increases collectively recording a 14.9 percent increase in foreign air and sea arrivals.

He attributed the increase in arrivals to dynamic advertising, marketing and promotions by the MOTA, along with major hotels, and other key stakeholders.

“Over the past 18 months we have had several top brand hotels come on stream, namely the full opening of Baha Mar with its signature brands, the Rosewood, the Grand Hyatt and SLS,” the minister said.

Mr D’Aguilar stressed it will take a united effort to sustain the growth in tourism that has been achieved over the past 12 months.

“Let us collectively commit to continuously up our game so that The Bahamas becomes a place 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,” he said.


SP 1 year, 9 months ago

Certainly, Dionisio D’Aguilar cannot be ignorant enough to think the FNM's new marketing initiative is the reason for the increase in arrivals. No new marketing strategy in the world could produce these numbers in such a short window.

Two major factors D’Aguilar chooses to ignore are regional destination competitors still suffering hurricane-related challenges and the huge downturn of tourism travel to the U.S. caused by to the "Trump Effect".

The United States is finally coming to grips with the hard reality that "people with cash" have many other travel options than America for travel, and the cost of dwindling vacationers is a serious problem to their overall bottom line.

My family for one has refused to visit the U.S. for over 12 years due to rude "border agents" that act like they are doing us a big favor to "allow us to spend in the U.S. economy". The result was travel to several other countries which were all better value than the U.S. and without the customs and immigration nonsense and racial tensions of America!

Research prepared for the Visit U.S. Coalition by the U.S. Travel Association shows that global travel volume increased 7.9% from 2015 to 2017. But the U.S. slice of that fell from 13.6% to 11.9% in the same period. That is the first drop after more than a decade of consistent growth.

Meanwhile, spending by international visitors to the USA dropped 3.3% through November 2017 over the same period the previous year, according to the Commerce Department.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that translates into a loss of $4.6 billion spent in the U.S. economy and 40,000 jobs.

In fact, the UN World Tourism Organization says Spain is about to replace the USA as the world's second most popular tourist destination, after France. The travel industry is so concerned about this because their leaders say, tourists bring in much-needed dollars to the U.S. economy.

"We're losing big numbers here," Dow says. Data from July 2017 shows that inbound travel from the Middle East is down 40.3%, from Africa 32.1%, from South America 15.5%, from Central America 18.8%, and from the Caribbean 22.3%. Even Eastern Europe had a 17.1% drop in visitors traveling to the USA.

But Dow does acknowledge that the uncertainty of whether or not people with certain citizenship can get into the USA has caused many to stay away.

"There's a factor of people saying I don’t want to be hassled," he says.


DDK 1 year, 9 months ago

The Minister is likely not "ignorant enough" but hopes the electorate is!


BMW 1 year, 9 months ago

Wow you must have never come through our very own rude and because you white you are foreign immigration and customs.


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

D'Aguilar has of course overstated both the number of visitors and the percentage increase in tourists. But that aside, he has yet to send President Trump a thank you note for a still buoyant U.S. economy that allows more Americans to pay us a visit. Instead D'Aguilar would have us believe he's the man with the golden touch for our tourism industry. Meanwhile Minnis is just praying the U.S. economy does not rollover before our next general election....but he's pretty much 'one-and-done' anyway. LMAO


birdiestrachan 1 year, 9 months ago

No need for this man to jump up and down as if he had anything to do with the increase in Tourism There are those of us who know better You and had nothing at all to do with it.

But of course the peoples time voters believe you.


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