Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar called an unscheduled second press conference during the 38th annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace at Baha Mar’s Performing Arts and Convention Centre to share the good news that 2019 was a record breaking year on many levels for the destination, reports PressToday’s Ann Ruppenstein, who is attending the annual event.
“It is with great pride we report that The Islands of The Bahamas has exceeded a record breaking seven million visitors in 2019, our strongest tourism numbers in history. This is a tremendous accomplishment, particularly in light of the challenging year we as a country just endured,” he told a packed room. “We have a few historical moments to record for 2019 and they are: highest record amount of stopover visitors ever at 1.78 million. Highest record amount of stopover visitors ever from the United States at 1.45 million. And a whopping 7.216 million total visitor arrivals for 2019.”
D’Aguilar said the impact of Hurricane Dorian has not slowed The Bahamas’ tourism growth. The ministry attributes the success to the hard work of Bahamians at all levels of the tourism industry combined with data driven agile marketing, authentic story telling, aggressive public relations and sales and airline strategies.
“The Bahamas is open, beautiful and ready to welcome all with open arms,” he said.
Joy Jibrilu, Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, said for the next few months its promotional efforts will shift from the Fly Away campaign to marketing that shares the message that The Bahamas are still rockin’. The new material includes another collaboration with Lenny Kravitz, who expresses, “This is The Bahamas and we’re still rocking.”
Another important message was that Grand Bahama has made strong strides in its recovery efforts since Hurricane Dorian with 100% of cruise lines operating again and 84% of the hotels on the island now reopen. While The Abaco Islands have a long road ahead, she said the airport, hotels and restaurants in South Abaco are “trying to get back to some level of normalcy.”
“The best way to help The Bahamas is to continue to visit,” she said. “Fifteen out of 16 of the islands are open for business.”