President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Robert “Sandy” Sands said yesterday the industry must capture and capitalize on the significantly higher number of cruise visitors to The Bahamas.
Building off of the success of a record two million stopover visitors so far in 2023, Sands said BHTA stakeholders must implement strategies toward “cruise conversion”.
“Another opportunity that we can leverage to continue our trajectory of success is cruise conversion. For our cruise passengers, who represent a very significant portion of our arrivals into The Bahamas, 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 stopover. If we are able to convert just five percent of those cruise passengers to stopover visitors, you do the math, significant numbers,” he said at the BHTA’s annual general meeting yesterday.
Up to the end of October, The Bahamas welcomed more than eight million visitors – six million of which arrived by sea – a category which often sees less tourism dollars spent in the country, as compared to stopover visitors, who spend a longer time and spend more money.
“How can we make this happen? As we’ve expressed, we need to ensure we have the inventory to accommodate them as stopover visitors, we will need ample airlift to get them to as many islands as possible throughout the archipelago in the most efficient time frame possible, and in the most cost-effective way possible, as we do recognize the spend variable of the average cruise guest,” he said.
“We need to ensure that we wow them even if only in the port for a day; by providing them with the best possible experience and safety when they are amongst us even for a short time. And we need to deploy a strategy to ensure that at every touch point, we are able to access guests and showcase the best The Bahamas has to offer, the rich and diverse uniqueness of each one of our islands, so they have reason to visit us again, as stopover guests, spending exponentially more time and money throughout The Bahamas.”
Dec 7, 2023