Visitors to the Bahamas have been increased by “leaps and bounds” according to Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar. Tourism plays a huge role in the country’s economy and took a big blow during COVID-19.
With vaccination rates on the rise and case numbers falling, it finally looks like tourism is bouncing back.
According to D’Aguilar, travel health visa requests have been growing each month. There were 22,000 in January, 30,000 in February, 64,000 in March, 68,000 in April, and 110,000 in May. There have been almost 300,000 visitors that have arrived in the Bahamas in 2021.
After examining the numbers, D’Aguilar said that 60% of the visitors are coming to Nassau and 40% are going to the Family Islands. “So, that confirms to me that the Family Islands are bouncing back faster than Nassau, so far, since in 2019, 75 percent of the visitors came to Nassau while 25 percent went to the Family Islands,” said D’Aguilar.
“With the onset of COVID, people wanted a low-density, secluded vacation at a small boutique hotel or AirBnB away from crowds and larger properties. That is exactly what happened,” D’Aguilar continued.
“When you dig even deeper into the number, 27 percent of the persons going to the Family Islands went to Eleuthera, mostly Harbour Island; 20 percent went to Bimini and Cat Cay, mostly by boat from Florida; 19 percent went to Abaco, which is quite remarkable given the damage Hurricane Dorian put on that island and leads me to conclude that those second homeowners are very, very loyal to Abaco; and 17 percent went to Exuma.”
Of those traveling to the Bahamas, it looks like the wealthier visitors are returning sooner. The number of private jets and private yachts, as well as the amount of people seeking the more expensive accommodations the nation has to offer, backs this up.
The high cost of air travel is likely a big reason why other visitors haven’t been arriving as much. Due to continued air restrictions, prices have skyrocketed. Thankfully, major airlines are now starting to add increased capacity to existing routes and adding more flights to the Bahamas as demand picks up.
“In total, scheduled international flights to The Bahamas have increased to 17 commercial carriers, with a combined seat capacity from 37 international markets. This is monumental as we are truly bringing the world to our shores.”
Hopefully, as COVID restrictions loosen, vaccination rates increase, and air prices drop tourism will increase even more.