The Min. of Tourism & Aviation, along with industry partners, attended the Routes Americas 2020 conference recently in Indianapolis, Indiana. Attending from the Ministry of Tourism were Tyrone Sawyer, Senior Director – Airlift Development and Faye Cash, General Manager – Airlift Development. The Bahamas team engaged in several twenty-five (25) minute meetings per day with airline partners, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. over a three-day period, to review the performance of existing Bahamas routes, to re-align tactics as necessary, and to explore new strategies to build the performance of their flights to The Islands Of The Bahamas. One of the principal objectives of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation team at Routes Americas 2020 was to gauge the impact of the Ministry’s advertising/PR campaign to blunt the loss of business caused by the fallout from Hurricane Dorian.
This was crucial market intelligence, given the opportunity to meet with so many key airline partners in one place. It turns out that some travel consumers perceived that the entire Bahamas was devastated, despite the fact that the storm impacted only Grand Bahama and Abaco. And this misperception, according to some airline partners, affected their airlift performance to Nassau/Paradise Island in the short term. But there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
Feedback from key airline partners at Routes Americas 2020 suggests that airlift performance in early 2020 to Nassau/Paradise Island is showing strong signs of a “turn-around”, due mainly to a strong promotional effort by the Ministry of Tourism and its Industry partners in key markets. Key airline partners, like American Airlines and Delta Airlines, demonstrated strong confidence in Bahamas tourism by “holding the line” and maintaining year-over-year increases in nonstop
air seats from their respective hubs of Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta. The Bahamas team thanked key airline partners, on behalf of the Honourable Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism & Aviation, for their strong support of Bahamas tourism.
Another key objective of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism team at Routes Americas 2020 was to identify new route development opportunities. Routes 2020 was rife with such opportunities. Several meaningful discussions were held with new airlines which the Bahamas team feels would bear much fruit. The Bahamas team has also identified the Latin American market for renewed focus. In addition to Copa Airlines which operates nonstop flights from Panama to Nassau, a high percentage of Latin American air arrivals to The Bahamas connect through Miami on American Airlines. A smaller percentage of air arrivals connect through Fort Lauderdale on United Airlines’ Code Share partner, Silver Airways, and through Delta Airlines via its Atlanta hub. The Bahamas team noted, with more than passing interest, recent steps by Delta Airlines to broaden its footprint in Latin America through its partnership with LATAM Airlines.
This partnership will offer several nonstop flights per day from Columbia, Ecuador and Peru to Miami, and there is every belief that Bahamas tourism will benefit. This Latin America focus helps to achieve one of the Ministry of Tourism’s fundamental goals – to broaden the base of airlift to The Bahamas. “Routes Americas 2020 was a very good opportunity to meet with existing partners to review existing routes and “re-tool”, as needed,” stated Sawyer. “We are very encouraged by the prospects for new nonstop airlift opportunities to The Bahamas from new markets.”