July 9, 2020

Bahamas wants to achieve 1.6 to 1.8 million-stopover visitors in 2013


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by  Theo Chambers

The Bahamas is seeking to attract a greater level of airlift and the over all goal is to increase the number of stopover visitors in 2013 from 1.6 million to 1.8 million, said Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe.

That would surpass the best stopover year of 2008, when there were 1.3 million stopover visitors to the country, said Minister Wilchcombe during the Caribbean Marketplace press conference at Atlantis, Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

He explained that negotiations at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Marketplace would go a long way in setting the pace for this goal.

The CHTA will take place from January 20 to 22, 2013 and several hundred tourism and travel professionals are expected to converge on Nassau and Paradise Island for the event.

“Since The Bahamas hosted the 2012 event, we have the distinction of being the only nation to have hosted Marketplace in two consecutive years,” Minister Wilchcombe said.

“This is significant because it means that there is something special about the islands of The Bahamas. We have hosted professionals who travelled the world. They have seen and experienced the best in hospitality many times over, and in returning to our shores this year, they are acknowledging that we do things the right way in The Bahamas.

“We take this return as an endorsement of our customer service, our attention to detail, and our ability to simply blow our guests away by providing uniquely Bahamian experiences,” the Minister said.

Director General, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, David Johnson; Director General and CEO, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Alec Sanguinetti; President, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Stuart Bowe and Executive Director, Bahamas Hotel Association Frank Comito were also in attendance.

Bowe said 2012 proved to be a turning point for the region, as countries climbed out of the great recession and saw a renewed interest in travel to The Bahamas and the region.

“Last year’s Marketplace contributed to this turnaround and we are optimistic that we will see even greater interest in The Bahamas, and the region at this year’s gathering.

“When the information is fully compiled, The Bahamas should see increases in 2012 in hotel occupancy rates and our best year since 2008.”

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association member hotels have been busy preparing for the Marketplace, with hundreds of appointments being scheduled with ‘buyers’ – including tour operators, wholesalers, online intermediaries and niche and vertical marketing companies, Bowe added.

“Through our promotion boards and in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, pre and post trips for the press and ‘buyers’ to Grand Bahama and the Family Islands have been scheduled. A special event is also planned for Baha Mar.”

The benefits which will accrue from Marketplace should be immediate and, with increased bookings this coming season and long-term, particularly from the destination exposure The Bahamas will receive from the international press and their contact to the country’s diverse offerings and the exciting things underway, he said.

“For the past year our host committee has been planning details with CHTA. They have put together a well-organised event to facilitate productive business interactions along with several social and entertainment function, which will showcase the best of Bahamian cuisine, hospitality and music,” Bowe added.

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