NASSAU — It was a stellar first half of the year for The Bahamas, which recorded more than 5.89 million visitor arrivals from January through the end of July.
According to the country’s Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, tourism performance has outpaced initial projections for the first seven months of 2023. As it stands, The Bahamas is on track to close out the year with over 8 million visitors.
Of the 5,893, 118 total visitors who arrived in the destination during this period, 1,133,494 arrived by air and 4,759,624 by sea. July year-to-date, overall arrivals are pacing 59% ahead of 2022 and 30% ahead of 2019, the busiest year on record for the destination.
To further put things into perspective, during the entirety of 2022, 1,470,244 visitors arrived by air, and another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea.
Comparing 2023 overall arrivals by month, March arrivals peaked at 951,311, making it the busiest arrivals month in The Bahamas’ history.
Tourist spending is also up. Major large New Providence hotels reported increased occupancy and length of stay rates for 2023, eclipsing corresponding periods for 2019 and 2022. Average Daily Rate (ADR) is up an average of 59% compared to 2019, while Room Revenues are also up 42% for the same period. Also encouraging is the fact that more than 60% of visitors came to The Bahamas for the first time, with arrivals from every region showing an increase over the same period last year.
“The stronger than expected results speak to vibrancy of The Bahamas’ brand, methodical business strategies and the hard work of tourism industry professionals and stakeholders,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation Chester Cooper. “We are seeing record arrivals because we have all worked together to resuscitate our tourism industry coming out of the pandemic, and because we continue to improve our tourism product.”
The Port of Nassau welcomed the largest share of cruise arrivals, followed by The Berry Islands (Coco Cay), Bimini (Mainland and Ocean Cay), Half Moon Cay, Grand Bahama and Abaco (Castaway Cay), respectively. Overall, cruise arrivals between January through July are up 72.1% over the corresponding period last year, and 43% ahead of the historic levels in 2019.
The Bahamas’ biggest market for visitors remains the United States, representing 90% of overall visitor arrivals. Canada comes second, followed by the United Kingdom/Europe. Latin America, however, is gaining momentum in its steady return to pre-pandemic stopover levels.
From January through July, 70% of all stopover visitors came to The Bahamas primarily for a vacation, 15% for weddings and honeymoons, 6% to play in casinos, 4% for business, and 5% for ‘other/undisclosed’ reasons.