Bahamas Min. of Tourism, Investments & Aviation celebrates a successful WTTC Global Summit

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper participated in a Panel Discussion at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (BMOTIA) has today concluded a successful week at the World Travel and Tourism (WTTC) Global Summit in in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia discussing the future of post-COVID travel alongside sustainability and future plans to make The Bahamas a hub for multi-destination Caribbean travel from the Middle East.

The BMOTIA delegation led by Deputy Prime Minster The Honourable I. Chester Cooper attended a series of panels and discussions at WTTC where highlights included sharing the immediate post- COVID success of tourism across the Islands of the Bahamas with tourism coming back stronger than before the pandemic in 2019. Most notably, the BMOTIA team shared data from Forward Keys, the leading experts in global ticketing data from online bookings, travel agencies and airlines, revealing through their data analysis and commissioned by BMOTIA, that the Caribbean is recovering from the pandemic faster than anywhere else in the world with The Bahamas reporting a 16 per cent growth month on month compared to 2019. 

With WTTC taking place in Saudi Arabia, the Deputy Prime Minister was keen to share plans to grow the Middle East market and articulated his vision for Nassau in The Bahamas to become an aviation hub for the Middle East into the Caribbean. With an increase in airlift from London, UK and a weekly schedule of 11 flights the Deputy Prime Minister sees huge potential for The Bahamas to immediately begin the process of becoming a regional aviation hub for the Middle East, connecting from London, UK.

Deputy Prime Minster The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, commented: “The World Travel and Tourism Global Summit has been a great opportunity for myself and fellow Ministers and delegates to share knowledge, experience and ideas on a global level across the
tourism sector. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism and travel is definitely back on the agenda and speaking on the behalf of The Islands of The Bahamas, tourism is returning to the islands with a vengeance.

“Airlift is the oxygen for tourism and we are delighted to now have that increased flight uplift from London to our hub Nassau enabling us to welcome more visitors. With our 30 government owned airports and 16 major island destinations.”

“We have much experience in this sector with Bahamasair already servicing our major island destinations, we are discussing using our insight to make The Bahamas the hub of multi-destination travel across the Caribbean making it even easier for the world to experience our beautiful islands.

Bahamasair will be a key asset in this initiative. With our proximity to USA as the most northerly Caribbean country, with USA pre-clearance and TSA pre-check, we are ideally positioned.” 2023 promises to be a time of great development in The Bahamas with investment across the islands, supporting the increased airlift with new hotels and developments including Nassau’s new cruise terminal set to open in 2023, the completion of the Hurricane Hole Superyacht Marina on Paradise Island and the opening of a new cruise port in Grand Bahama in partnership with Carnival Cruises in 2024.

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of independence for The Bahamas and BMOTIA is expecting a boom in international travellers visiting the 16 islands to join in the celebrations recognising the history, heritage and culture of the destination. The Honorable I. Cooper also shared information indicating that holidaymakers to The Bahamas are now choosing to spend longer in The Bahamas and travelling further afield to discover more of island life across the 16 inhabited islands of the archipelago. The Deputy Prime Minister also shared the success of The Bahamas’ unique People-to People programme to enable visitors to really experience island life, meet the locals and have a taste of life in The Bahamas with this immersive cultural experience pairing inquisitive travellers with volunteer locals homes to share their love of The Islands of The Bahamas.

The BMOTIA team also held a number of successful meetings focusing on investments and sustainability being at the forefront of the future of tourism for The Bahamas with its’ marine territory of 100,000 square miles, 700 islands and 2,400 cays. The islands have set a target of 30% renewable energy by 2030 alongside other initiatives to support The Bahamas sustainability plans.   The 22nd World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit is the most influential Travel & Tourism event on the calendar. This year, global government and travel industry leaders gathered to align efforts to support the sector’s post-pandemic recovery focusing on driving the travel and tourism sector to a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future.