Bahamas Tourism Trails Behind Caribbean

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Out of 19 million tourists that visited the Caribbean last year, The Bahamas was able to win roughly 7 percent of that group, with four other countries beating this nation in attracting the most visitors to their shores.

It's a revelation that came this week in the United Nations World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) Outlook for the Caribbean Region.

According to Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Investment Conference presenter Carlos Vogeler, international tourist arrivals to the entire Caribbean was down 3.2 percent to 19.4 million arrivals coming all of last year. The regional director for the Americas said they were visitors that contributed to a total of $22.4 billion in receipts recorded in 2009, although that was down by 4.1 percent from the year-ago period.

The preliminary results announced at the conference showed that The Bahamas was able to attract roughly 1.3 million visitors all of last year, with Dominican Republic winning over the greatest share of visitors at 21 percent of total arrivals.

For that latin country, it means they saw around 4 million of the region's total tourists touch their shores. Puerto Rico was right behind it with 3.4 million arrivals, about 18 percent of the total and Cuba's 12 percent translating into 2.3 million arrivals. Jamaica also captured more than The Bahamas, with 9 percent of total arrivals at 1.7 million of the traveling 19 million.

While Aruba came behind The Bahamas in air arrivals - with just around 4 percent in total arrivals - the country appeared to be able to win over more of that $22.4 billion receipt category, with this nation being lumped in the "rest" category of countries that shared what was left of the money to be earned from the tourism industry.

And even as The Bahamas saw visitor arrivals decline in 2009, Cuba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic was able to increase arrivals during the peak of a recession slashing the vacation budgets of many.

At this point, the UNWTO is not projecting arrival growth for The Bahamas for the 2010 period, unlike the projections for at least six other island nations in the region.

Source: The Nassau Guardian