Bahamas Air Arrivals Drop In December 2009

Visitor air arrivals throughout The Bahamas declined by 10 percent during the normally busy month of December, even as total visitors to the country improved by 5 percent.

According to the Ministry of Tourism's latest data for the month, arrivals to the country grew by just over 10,000 visitors last year compared to same period in 2008. That's a hike that comes courtesy of a 13-percent rise in sea passengers sailing their way to Bahamian shores.

Arrivals by sea have continued to grow in the absence of a larger air contribution, although the latter category acts as a true indicator on the performance of this nation's number one industry: Tourism.

All told, arrivals for New Providence went up by 7.3 percent over the year-ago period. That's a boost that came courtesy of a near 16.3 percent boost in sea arrivals over the corresponding period in 2008, although air arrivals to New Providence are down by 6.0 percent.

The decline was worse in Grand Bahama, however, with air arrivals down by 22 percent in that struggling economy. In total, just over 1,000 less people traveled to the nation's second city by air in September than compared to the 2008 period. As was the case in New Providence, a boost in sea arrivals - to the tune of a near 14 percent increase — helped temper total arrival numbers in that destination, which increases by 3 percent overall.

The Family Islands were also similarly affected, seeing air arrivals decline by 20 percent ever as sea arrivals grew by 8.3 percent in that month. In total, the Family Islands saw an overall 3.3 percent boost in visitor arrival numbers in comparison to the same period in 2008.

Recently the government paid millions of dollars in departure tax rebates to cruise lines as a result of incentive contracts to bring visitors to the country. A new companion fly free program launched by the MOT is also expected to go a long way in boosting air arrivals to islands throughout The Bahamas.

Source: The Nassau Guardian
Last Updated on Sunday, 21 March 2010 14:45