Bahamas records 11 percent rise in airlift
Guardian Business Reporter
The Bahamas is seeing an 11 percent increase in air arrivals, according to a senior government official.
David Johnson, director general at the Ministry of Tourism, revealed to Guardian Business that the increase in the country's airlift so far this year has been significant.
"In Nassau, we are up by nine percent so far for the year. Grand Bahama is up by 15 percent. And for the rest of the Family Islands, they are averaging two to three percent," Johnson pointed out. "In fact, in the case of Grand Bahama with airlift, there was more likely a 35 percent increase. We are seeing a 15 percent growth in arrival, which means we have excess capacity compared to the demand.
"Overall, country wise, we are up by 11 percent. This increase is very significant because our inventory hasn't increased that much. That's reaching the balance that we need."
Johnson believes that initiatives like the air credit program are also having a positive impact on the country's air arrival numbers, as it has the potential to generate nearly $3 million in sales.
The program was re-instated nearly four weeks ago and has close to three weeks left before it ends.
"The air credit program is in effect now. We re-instated it approximately four weeks ago in order to build business for the fall and into winter. So it's in place now. We are prepared and committed for the period," Johnson noted.
"We can be looking at anywhere from $2.5 million to $3 million (in sales). We have about three more weeks before the program ends. It's a six-week promotional period. That generally generates in excess of $2 million in sales."
The director general said the Ministry of Tourism believes 1.5 million arrivals through airlift is attainable this year. We don't know if there will be hurricanes or something of that nature, which could disrupt our momentum," he explained. "Our goal is within our grasp."
In the Central Bank's Monthly Economic Financial Developments (MEFD) report, released earlier this month, it stated that the country recorded the highest figure in air arrivals since the corresponding period in 2008.
Obie Wilchcombe, the minister of tourism, told Guardian Business that the rise in air arrivals reflects his objectives, calling an increase in air arrivals vital to the country in order for hotels and other associated businesses to benefit.
© 2012 The Freeport News