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BHTA president: Convert more cruise passengers into stop-over visitors for sustained tourism growth

Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association President Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands yesterday suggested that by converting just five percent of cruise visitors into stopover guests, The Bahamas could inject millions into the local economy, leveraging the current cruise visitor arrivals boom for sustained tourism growth.

Tourism officials announced earlier this week that The Bahamas has welcomed a record-breaking eight million visitors this year, with Nassau Cruise Port executives also revealing that the port has welcomed 3,869,003 passengers so far this year and is moving towards its its total passenger target for the year of 4.2 million passengers. 

“Another opportunity that we can leverage to continue our trajectory of success is cruise conversion. Our cruise passengers represent a significant portion of our arrivals into The Bahamas and there exists a real opportunity for us to capitalize on the conversion of this captive market. We want to go from having our cruise visitors stop by to stop over,” noted Sands while addressing the BHTA annual general meeting at the Margaritaville Resort.

“There needs to be ample airlift to get them to as many islands as possible throughout the archipelago in the most efficient time frame possible, in the most cost-effective way possible, as we do recognize the spending variable of the average cruise guest.”

Sands said that tourism stakeholders must ensure visitors enjoy the best possible experience, even if just for a day. He noted that guests must be engaged at every touchpoint, showcasing the unique charm of each island of The Bahamas. 

Eyewitness News

Natario McKenzie

December 7, 2023