NASSAU -- The Bahamas welcomed 7.2 million visitors in 2019, marking its highest arrival numbers in history, according to Dionisio D’Aguilar, the country’s minister of tourism and aviation. It represented a 9% jump over the 6.6 million air and cruise visitors in 2018.

Stopover arrivals totaled 1.8 million, of whom 1.5 million were from from the U.S. Cruise passengers accounted for 5.4 million.

D’Aguilar attributed the increase to aggressive marketing, sales and airlift strategies, all of which were ramped up after Hurricane Dorian heavily damaged Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco Islands in September.

“Pre-Dorian, our stopover and cruise arrivals were trending high,” D’Aguilar said. “Abaco was the second-busiest destination in the Bahamas in terms of visitor numbers.

“Post-Dorian our numbers dropped, but we remained aggressive and launched a multiphase brand campaign to tell the world that the Bahamas was open for business and to spread the message that most of the islands were welcoming visitors.” 

He reported that the momentum of 2019 was continuing into 2020. “The first quarter is strong, cruise is vibrant and bookings going forward look solid as we continue to spread the message that we’re open and welcoming visitors,” he said.

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