Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper applauded the efforts of industry stakeholders and partners in the upsurge in tourism numbers, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
He made the acknowledgement during a Reception in appreciation for their support throughout the past year. The event was held at the Nexus Club, Baha Mar on Monday, January 30, 2023. A similar event was held in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
The reception came on the heels of the minister’s announcement that visitor arrivals to The Bahamas eclipsed seven million in 2022, signaling a return to pre-pandemic tourism numbers. In total 7,000,706 visitors came to The Bahamas in 2022.
“It is largely because of relationships we have built with partners and stakeholders like you that we have seen the success we have in bouncing back from the pandemic,” the minister said.
He added, “And there is simply no way that the Ministry of Tourism can go along day after day without acknowledging the tremendous partnerships that make it possible for the Islands of The Bahamas to have a vibrant tourism industry.”
The minister reported that air arrivals in September-December 2022 surpassed historic 2019 levels. Overall cruise arrivals returned to 2019 pre-pandemic levels reaching 5.4 million. Cruise arrivals July-December 2022 surpassed 2019 level, and December 2022 cruise arrivals exceeded an historic 735,000 passengers that month.
“This is all fantastic news. Make no mistake about it. But I’ll tell you better news. We plan to beat those numbers this year,” the minister confidently said.
He also touted trade shows that partners are accustomed to being a major part of — announcing from March to October the ministry is committed to Berlin; Arabian Travel Market; the Caribbean Marketplace; IMEX – Frankfurt, America; and more.
“We plan to go into all these united with you because we can accomplish so much more when we combine our resources and efforts,” the minister said.
He also revealed shifts in responsibilities of the ministry’s executives abroad, aimed at having an additional impact on Bahamas tourism.
“More offerings means more linkages and more empowerment for The Bahamas,” the minister said. “And although we all make this look easy, we know that it takes an incredible amount of work to pull it all together.”
He concluded, “We can see that the eyes of the world are turning toward The Bahamas more and more and new opportunities are opening up for us all. I encourage you all to maintain focus and work even harder so that we can achieve limits yet unseen.”
By LINDSAY THOMPSON/Bahamas Information Services
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