At the World Travel Market, Johnson Johnrose, Communications Specialist for the Caribbean Tourism Organization, had the chance to talk with David Johnson, Director General of Tourism in the Bahamas. Here, Mr. Johnson talks about the improving business of tourism in his corner of the world.
DAVID JOHNSON: Business is very encouraging for us in the Bahamas. We are doing extremely well in terms of our cruise business. We’d like to do a little stronger on the land base business, but it is strong international. We can do with a bit more help into grand Bahama, and we are addressing that. The Bahamas has been having a reasonably good year.
JOHNSON JOHNROSE: Numbers?
JOHNSON: Overall, our business is growing overall at a rate of about 7 percent. Cruise is up double digits. We had a slow start in the first part of the year, but it got strong by spring/summer, and our business is where we expected to be right now.
JOHNROSE: There is a trend where numbers are up in terms of arrivals, and figures are down in terms of spend. What are you experiencing?
JOHNSON: We are finding that we are almost even in terms of ADR – average daily rate – year-to-year, however, we want to invest more to drive our business from the last year. So our marketing costs have been high. One of the things we have had to do is to invest with the private sector in the Bahamas very heavily in reducing the cost of air transportation through something that you’ve probably heard of, which is “companion flies free.” We have been stimulating our business with huge investments – I’m talking about in excess of 9 million dollars last year – on the public side in order to drive the cost of getting to the Bahamas down for most North Americans,and that has perhaps been the strongest component of our growth in visitor arrivals in the last 12 months.