The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has exceeded a record-breaking seven million visitors in 2019. The Ministry attributes this historic success to data-driven, agile marketing, authentic storytelling, and aggressive PR, sales and airlift strategies. While the impacts of Hurricane Dorian are still felt, the hard work and dedication of Ministry partners have ensured that The Bahamas is still rockin’.
“It is with great pride and pleasure that I report The Bahamas’ strongest tourism numbers in history,” said Minister of Tourism & Aviation, Dionisio D’Aguilar. “We look forward to building upon the success of our marketing efforts and continuing the momentum in 2020 as we show the world that The Bahamas continues to be Open For Business and has so much to offer visitors.”
“This tremendous achievement would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the team behind the scenes at the Ministry of Tourism as well as our industry and agency partners,” said Director General, Joy Jibrilu.
The impact of Hurricane Dorian has not slowed The Bahamas’ tourism growth. Since 2009, the islands have continuously seen a steady increase in air and sea arrivals with an impressive 52% increase in just 10 years.
According to the Department of Immigration, Port Authority and Customs, 2019 was a record-breaking year for The Bahamas, with the highest number of arrivals by air and sea recorded in the country’s history. By the end of 2019, foreign air and sea arrivals had totaled more than 7.2 million, a 9.0% increase from 2018. Stopover visitors alone were the highest in recorded history at 1.78 million with American visitors accounting for 1.45 million.
The Islands Of The Bahamas expect to see this trend of increasing arrivals by air continue as major airlines, including United Airlines, British Airways and Delta Airlines have increased their airlift to Nassau in 2020.
United Airlines has added Saturday-only non-stop service from Denver to Nassau. The service begins March 7, 2020 in time for the peak spring travel season and continues through August 15, 2020. Beginning March 29, 2020, British Airways will operate non-stop service between London Heathrow and Nassau every Tuesday. British Airways will now offer non-stop service between London and Nassau Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Delta Airlines has also expanded its airlift to Nassau this winter. Beginning December 21, 2019, the airline introduced daily nonstop flights from Boston Logan Airport to Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport. Flights will run through April 30, 2020.
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES
The Bahamas Awarded in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards – The Islands Of The Bahamas placed tenth in Condé Nast Travelers’ 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards for the Top 10 Islands in The Caribbean & Atlantic. Despite the trying hurricane season, The Islands continue to be a leader in Caribbean travel.
Bahamian Islands Recognized in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards – The Exumas, Harbour Island and The Abacos were named some of the top islands in the Caribbean, Bermuda and The Bahamas in Travel + Leisure’s 2019 World’s Best Awards. The World’s Best Awards are among the most prestigious in the travel industry and are selected by the publication’s readers.
Caribbean Journal’s Travelers’ Choice Awards – Nassau / Paradise Island were recognized in two categories of Caribbean Journal’s Travelers’ Choice Awards. The Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant was named the Best Restaurant in the Caribbean while Nassau / Paradise Island was voted the Best Golf Destination. The Travelers’ Choice Awards celebrate the best in Caribbean travel as chosen by thousands of Caribbean Journal subscribers.
CHTA’s Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum Awards – The Islands Of The Bahamas took top honors at Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s annual CHIEF Awards. Small Hope Bay Lodge in Andros placed first in the Environmental Sustainability category for its solar power initiatives. Valentines Resort & Marina on Harbour Island placed first in the Sales and Marketing award category through its social media and email marketing efforts. Nassau Airport Development Company placed second in the Business Operations category for its new operation procedures to improve passenger experience.
Media Accolades – Following Hurricane Dorian, travel and lifestyle media rallied behind The Islands Of The Bahamas to encourage their readers to plan their travels now. The following awards round out a growing list of media accolades and consumer travel trend reports positioning The Bahamas as a must-visit destination in 2020:
- New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2020”
- Frommer’s “Best Places to Go in 2020”
- Fodor’s Go List 2020
- The Globe & Mail’s “Where to Go in 2020”
- Virtuoso Traveler’s “20 for 2020”
CONTINUING THE MOMENTUM WITH FLY AWAY
THE BAHAMAS IS STILL ROCKIN’
Following Hurricane Dorian, the Ministry also revealed a multi-channel campaign which reveals the resilience of the Bahamian people. Through authentic storytelling, the campaign shows travelers why The Bahamas is still rockin’ and urges them to add the destination to their 2020 travel plans.
Earlier this year, the Ministry debuted a new, multi-channel creative campaign featuring Bahamian-American rock legend Lenny Kravitz which reveals the authentic spirit of The Bahamas as a destination of adventure and discovery. Set to the lyrics of Kravitz’s hit song Fly Away, the television commercial and supporting marketing campaign capture his deep personal connection to The Bahamas, as well as the pure adrenaline rush of exploring the archipelago’s 100,000 square miles by boat and plane. Behind-the-scenes video follows Kravitz around his home base of Eleuthera, where he records music and embraces island time.
Supporting digital content at www.bahamas.com/flyaway allows the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation to raise awareness of the destination’s many islands, which include The Exumas, Andros, Bimini, The Berry Islands, Cat Island, Harbour Island and Eleuthera, Long Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Acklins, Nassau-Paradise Island and Crooked Island. The new hub draws visitors into island-specific microsites delivering inspiring vertical market video content on a variety of cultural and travel topics. The campaign underscores The Bahamas’ powerful appeal as a destination and its proximity as a quick Fly Away destination.
ABOUT THE BAHAMAS
With over 700 islands and cays, and 15 of the 16 unique island destinations currently open for business, The Bahamas lies just 55 miles off the coast of Florida, offering an easy fly away escape that transports travelers away from their everyday. The Islands Of The Bahamas have world-class fishing, diving, boating and thousands of miles of the earth’s most spectacular water and beaches waiting for families, couples and adventurers. Explore all the islands have to offer at www.bahamas.com or on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram to see why It’s Better in The Bahamas.
General Manager, Global Communications
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation