Robust tourism figures ‘demonstrate the resilience of our nation, the unyielding spirit of our people and a hard-working tourism team,’ says Tourism Minister Chester Cooper

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)
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Nassau, The Bahamas — The Bahamas is said to be on a path of robust recovery and growth, a journey underpinned by the government’s fiscal responsibility and strategic economic planning.

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

That is “good news” according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper.

He was contributing to the Mid-year Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on Thursday, March 7, 2024.

“As we stand at this midpoint of our fiscal year, we reflect not only on the challenges we have faced but also on the opportunities that lie ahead.

“This mid-year budget presentation is a declaration of our unwavering commitment to the progress and security of The Bahamas,” he said.

On top of the 9.65 million tourist arrivals record-setting year in 2023, Mr. Cooper further reported that in January of this year, the country witnessed remarkable performances in major hotels on New Providence and Paradise Island, with an occupancy rate of 76.8 percent, an inspiring increase from January 2023.

“This not only signals a robust recovery but also a triumphant surpassing of the pre-pandemic levels of 2019,” he said.

DPM Cooper told parliament that the Average Daily Rate (ADR) saw a significant rise of 12.8 percent, with Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) and room revenue increasing by 13.1 percent, and 10.5 percent respectively.  Additionally, overall arrivals were up 13%, and air arrivals to Nassau/Paradise Island were up 8.1 percent in January 2024, and
preliminary surveys confirm that tourism spending is trending up.

He added, “These figures demonstrate the resilience of our nation and the unyielding spirit of our people and a hard-working tourism team. They underscore the vital role tourism plays in every Bahamian’s life and highlight why tourism is, indeed, again, everybody’s business.”

The deputy prime minister was also pleased to share that according to recent data from the travel insurance provider Squaremouth, The Bahamas has been named the number one destination for spring break travel in 2024.

“This accolade is a reaffirmation of our unwavering dedication to providing an unparalleled visitor experience.

“This remarkable achievement places us ahead of global heavyweights such as Italy, Spain, and France, marking a significant milestone in our journey towards becoming the premier destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and everything in between,” he said.

On other prospects, he further shared that by 2027, Grand Bahama will have a minimum of 5.5 million visitors.

“Let’s celebrate the positive strides we’ve made, particularly in Grand Bahama, where our efforts yield tangible benefits for our citizens. Our administration has been focused on real, impactful development that improves lives and strengthens our economy. We are all about good news,” he said.

The tourism minister also took a moment to congratulate Devynne Charlton, on her world-record-breaking performance in the 60-meter hurdles this season.

“She is a wonder. Her success is a beacon of inspiration and shows that nothing is too big for anyone from our small nation to accomplish. We look forward to discussing how we can formalize as a Tourism Ambassador the work of this record-setting Bahamian, to support the work of our record-setting Tourism world-class destination,” he said.

Congratulations also went out to “the remarkable team” at the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation.

Another transformative initiative the deputy prime minister highlighted is the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), designed to harness the potential of the youth and prepare them for leadership roles within the tourism and aviation sectors.

Also, in the recently launched “Tourism is Everybody’s Business” campaign he said the message is clear: “The prosperity of The Bahamas is a shared responsibility, and every contribution counts.”

In tech tourism, he noted that his ministry has been at the forefront of integrating technology into the tourism and aviation sectors. And, at the heart of the tourism vision for The Bahamas is the empowerment of Bahamians.

“In our Blueprint for Change, we committed to empowering more Bahamians all across the Family Islands. Our vision extends into the realm of technological advancement, where we are pioneering efforts in Tech Tourism, AI, and the development of Smart Cities,” DPM Cooper said.

He added that the coming introduction of the Digital Immigration Card is another stride towards modernization, streamlining the travel experience for visitors and positioning The Bahamas as a leader in tourism technology.

“Leveraging this technology with surveys and engagement will help us understand our clients better and improve visitor spending,” he said.

In the area of cultural and heritage tourism, DPM Cooper observed that the islands are steeped in rich history and vibrant culture.

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