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Almost 3 million visitors took Bahamas holidays in first half of 2010

  • 21-Sep-10 11:32
  • Bahamas
  • Holiday Industry

A recent report revealed that as many as 3 million tourists took Bahamas holidays during 2010's first half, signalling a significant increase when compared against the previous year's figures.

Almost 3 million visitors took Bahamas holidays in first half of 2010

A report recently revealed how Bahamas holidays recorded nearly 3 million visitors in total for the first six months of the year, with air arrivals to the country up 20,000 from the 2009 corresponding period.

This significant jump in air arrivals came despite a continuing decline for Bahamas holidays in Grand Bahama, which saw a drop in that category by 7%, compared to the year-earlier period. All in all, arrivals -- -both by sea and air -- amounted to more than 2.7 million visitors flocking down here during the first half of the year to enjoy Bahamas holidays.

While Grand Bahama reported the largest jump in total arrivals, it was largely the result of a 52% increase in visitors coming in by boat. However, analysts tend to look at the air arrivals category for a more definitive idea of visitor impact on a holiday destination. In that area, New Providence saw a 2.8 % improvement for the six month period with nearly 8,000 more passengers winging their way into the capital for the month of June alone, compared to the 2009 period.

Total arrivals, however, were down by 6% from the year-earlier numbers. Surprisingly, cruise arrivals to this Caribbean holiday destination were still up by 6% year over year, despite a 16% drop in sea arrivals during that month. This increase came during the start of the peak travel period, when quick, affordable cruises to The Bahamas and Bahamas holidays are normally quite popular with worldwide holidaymakers.

Nevertheless, Nassau did record the loss of a major cruise ship, when the Bahamas Celebration cruise line re-routed to Grand Bahama earlier in the year. This was a factor that may have helped with an 80% growth in cruise arrivals to that island in June, with sea arrivals at 72,208 over the 40,019 recorded in Grand Bahama last year.

The Family Islands category was the only one to grow in both monthly numbers and year to date. Air arrivals to the out islands were up by 13% for the month of June and 10.9 % for the year to date period, while sea arrivals jumped by 37% for the month and 11% for the 6-month period when compared to the first 6 months in 2009. Such increases translated to 83,000 more passengers traveling to the Family Islands for the first half of 2010, compared to the year before. The latest numbers follow The Bahamas recording the highest level of visitor arrivals seen in five years, with approximately 1.3 million visitor arrivals recorded between January and April, according to the Central Bank.

"Between January and April, total visitor arrivals firmed by 10.2 percent, primarily on account of the strong 13.1 percent gain in the sea component, to 1.38 million -- its highest level in over five years," said the Bank's monthly report for June. "Incentive programmes supported a recovery in the higher value-added air segment by 2.5 percent, from last year's comparative 15.5 percent contraction; however, the numbers remained some 13.4 percent below their 2008 levels."

Given that arrivals have been on the decline for the past two years, the increase may indicate signs of improvement for a tourism industry that has been sluggish through the recession. Maybe Bahamas holidays are finally getting back on track after all.

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