By LETRE SWEETING
VISITOR arrivals to The Bahamas, which exceeded seven million last year, are expected to be even higher this year due to stronger branding for the country, according to Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments.
In a press release yesterday, he announced that The Bahamas saw a “total 7,000,706 visitors” in 2022, which he said was no accident.
“The fact that we have exceeded expectations and attracted more than seven million visitors to our country in 2022, something only done once before in a single year, was no accident,” he said.
“Countless stakeholders in the Bahamian tourism industry, including our international partners, worked tirelessly to achieve this. We sought to strengthen relationships to open new air routes. We sought to make travel to The Bahamas easier, more accessible, and affordable and took the message that we were open for business during our missions and provided insight on our wonderful offerings to the world,” Mr Cooper said.
“According to statistics the second half of 2022 outperformed the second half of 2019,” he said
Mr Cooper also said that the last six months were the strongest The Bahamas has ever seen.
“What the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation are forecasting so far and what forward bookings indicate, is that we are on track to break records in 2023. We don’t see this slowing down anytime soon,” Mr Cooper said.
Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism, added that tourism is critical to the economy, which affects all Bahamians.
“We are all in the tourism business in The Bahamas. And it’s a great business to be in. We want to keep our brand fresh and evergreen. And that’s everyone’s job, especially mine. I have a great, hardworking team at our ministry and we have some incredible things in store this year,” Mrs Duncombe said.
In 2022, 1,470,244 visitors travelled to the Bahamas by air, while another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea, the press release said.
“Nassau and Grand Bahama were most popular destinations by air, while Nassau and the Berry Islands were more popular destinations by sea. Foreign air and sea arrivals for 2022 were up by 233 percent over the same period in 2021 and just 3.4 percent shy of record arrivals in 2019.
“December 2022 saw total arrivals eclipse 900,000 visitors, more than any month in our history.
“Cruise arrivals in 2022 increased by nearly 400 percent over 2021 and were less than one percent below 2019 cruise arrivals,” the press release said.
“Air and cruise arrivals monthly from July to December 2022 surpassed the corresponding month in 2019. Occupancy rates for 2022 eclipsed occupancy rates for every corresponding month in 2021. The average daily room rate in 2022 outperformed that category for every corresponding month in 2021.
“The Bahamas carved out new ground with more than 55 percent of first-time arrivals to The Bahamas, with increases in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East,” the press release said.
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