GBI Experiences “Robust” 44 Per Cent Increase In Tourists Arrivals

- Advertisement -

Grand Bahama, The Bahamas – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper said in 2023, Grand Bahama Island (GBI) welcomed a total of 559,812 visitors.

“This does not include guests who arrive via Nassau and travel onward to Freeport. This figure is not just a number; it represents a robust 44 per cent increase over the previous year, 2022, and a significant seven per cent increase over the pre-pandemic year of 2019.”

The DPM was speaking at the Grand Bahama Business Outlook held at the Grand Lucayan Convention Center on Thursday, February 22, 2024.

Overall, the country had an all-time record of 9.65 million arrivals for the year 2023.

The DPM said Grand Bahama’s achievement is a testament to the resilience and attractiveness of Grand Bahama as a premier tourist destination.

“Grand Bahama is, in fact, the fastest growing destination in The Bahamas by air arrival and the third fastest growing island overall.”

He explained that the diversification in the nation’s tourism product ensures that Grand Bahama remains a versatile and appealing destination for all types of travellers.

The DPM said the cruise sector has also seen phenomenal growth, with 467,215 cruise visitors making GBI their first port of entry.

“This represents a 48 per cent increase over 2022 and 12 per cent above 2019 pre-pandemic levels, highlighting the island’s capacity to host and entertain large volumes of tourists with its unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.”
He said in terms of aviation and airlift, the opening of the newly renovated domestic terminal on January 2, 2023, marked the beginning of a year of significant progress.

The DPM explained that throughout 2023, GBI experienced a 32 per cent year-over-year increase in air arrivals, and one per cent ahead of pre-pandemic levels. There were enhanced services from key markets such as Charlotte, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Montreal, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, Toronto, and even Milan, Italy.

“This expansion in services represents a four per cent increase in seat capacity over 2019 and a remarkable 68 per cent increase over 2022.”

He said looking ahead to the first quarter of 2024, the island is already witnessing continued growth, with American Airlines increasing its frequency into Freeport from Miami, and Western Air scheduled to launch its inaugural Freeport to Ft. Lauderdale service in mid-March.

“This momentum is expected to push our seat capacity for the first three months of 2024 to exceed the levels of 2023 by seven per cent.”

The DPM noted that furthermore, the country is on the cusp of launching the first Aviation Cadets program in partnership with The Bahamas Aeronautical Academy.

“This initiative will not only introduce our youth to the exciting world of aviation, but will also equip them with the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in the field, ensuring the sustainable development of our aviation sector.”

He added, “This year we sent two young Bahamian women on full scholarships to Qatar Aeronautical Academy. Hopefully, we will be able to create more opportunities for young people especially in the GBI and Family Islands.”

The DPM said, “The strides we have made and the plans we have in place are a clear indication of our commitment to elevating Grand Bahama to new heights.”

- Advertisement -