Stopover visitor arrivals to The Bahamas were up 15.2 percent for the first six months of this year, compared to the same period last year, which translates into an additional 110,000 visitors to the country during that timeframe. Tourism officials estimate that an average stopover visitor to The Bahamas spends “north of 1,500 bucks” which would suggest that revenue during that timeframe, as a result of those stopover visits, was an estimated $165 million. “I have said it often, that I think we are doing extremely well,” Minister of Tourism and Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar said during a press briefing, September 7, at the British Colonial Hilton. Minister D’Aguilar said the double-digit increase in stopover visitor arrivals was driven by positive performances out of the United States of America, which is up 8.4 percent; Canada, up 30-plus percent, in addition to arrivals from the European nations. The news of positive performance the first six months of the year have tourism officials “ecstatic” about the prospects for the remainder of 2018. “We are very, very bullish on 2018 to see a strong finish to the year,” Minister D’Aguilar added.
The news comes as The Bahamas gets set to host the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) October 1-5 (2018) at Atlantis, Paradise Island. Tourism Ministers, industry officials and industry stakeholders from throughout the region will converge in New Providence for the SOTIC. Minister D’Aguilar, said the SOTIC affords regional hospitality and tourism professionals the opportunity to not only assess the region’s tourism “situation,” but to also share new trends and best practices that can help devise new ways to improve the industry while making it more sustainable and inclusive. Mr. D’Aguilar said the conference also provides industry officials with the opportunity to “explore concepts and models to expand beyond traditional tourism boundaries into entirely new frontiers.” “The exciting thing about SOTIC is that it keeps evolving. This year, for example, as we consider the striking realities facing the sector – not the least of which is extreme climate phenomena, political and economic realism at home and abroad, and the even more rapid rise in technological developments – we are rethinking travel and tourism in the Caribbean. We will explore concepts and models to expand beyond traditional tourism boundaries into entirely new frontiers.
“The Conference’s theme: ‘Rejuvenate, Recreate, Reconnect – New Dimension for Caribbean Tourism,’ reflects and demonstrates our recognition of the fact that in order to continue to grow our tourism numbers and revenue in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to all of our communities, we must build a tourism industry that is resilient and able to adapt to changing trends, demands and situations. “SOTIC is a worthwhile, important and invaluable investment for The Bahamas. The media coverage will be priceless (an estimated 30 regional and international media will be in town to provide coverage of the event), the lessons we learn will be priceless; the business it brings, will be welcomed,” Minister D’Aguilar added.