Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper touted the banner year being experienced in the tourism sector while contributing to the mid year budget debate in the House of Assembly on Monday.

He said, “we saw nearly one million visitors come to The Bahamas and for context, January of 2023 we saw that almost one million but that number was in the region of three hundred thousand just the year before in January 2022, that is a 166% increase between 2022 and 2023. And when we look at 2019, remember that was a banner year, we saw 636,000 air and sea arrivals in January. January 2023 is 33% increase over 2019 and is holding throughout the islands.”

The Minister also revealed that “the first six months of this fiscal year departure tax collections totaled $71.5 million, an improvement of $45 million or 85% over the prior year. In the first half of the year we collected 73.7% of the budget target for departure taxes. And as I told a recent forum, more visitors means more tax income, more economic activity and more opportunities and jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians.”