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Tourism

Tourism in the Bahamas

The tourism industry employs directly or indirectly about 50 percent of the Bahamian workforce and accounts for approximately half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The Bahamas welcomed the new millennium with a travel and tourism renaissance. A change in government in 1992, an adjustment in marketing strategy and a $2.0 billion investment in the island’s infrastructure has helped re-invent the destination for leisure and business travelers.

The Bahamas were presented with the Crystal Palm Award for Excellence by the Caribbean Hotel Association in January of 1998. This prestigious award recognized the Bahamian government for its excellence in tourism management and visionary leadership. This honor was mirrored in the growing popularity of the destination as the Ministry of Tourism reported The Islands Of The Bahamas to be the most popular destination among all Caribbean Islands.

According to Caribbean Tourism Office (CTO) statistics, more than 1.3 million Americans visited TIOTB, nearly double the number of US tourists to the #2 preference, Jamaica, and nearly triple the number of US visitors to the #3 choice Puerto Rico.

1998 brought with it $1 billion worth of investments in the development of hotels and tourism infrastructure. The most impressive of these investments was Atlantis, Paradise Island, where a $450 million expansion doubled the number of guestrooms, and added both a new convention complex and a 25,000 sq.-ft. ballroom, the largest in the Caribbean. (To date, Atlantis, Paradise Island has spent $850 million on expansion and renovations.)

The Islands received heightened visibility during the summer of 1999 when MTV: Music Television brought a full slate of programming to be taped on Paradise Island. The “Isle of MTV” served as the setting and backdrop for many of MTV’s current shows, in addition to original programs designed specifically for the summer of 1999.

On July 8, 1999, The Islands Of The Bahamas welcomed its two-millionth visitor for the 1999 season, a milestone that occurred almost two months ahead of schedule.

The most popular months for tourists are in the first quarter, with September offering the best opportunity to avoid the crowds. Generally all the destinations follow this monthly pattern with The Out Islands — Bimini, Eleuthera, Abaco, Exuma and all other islands outside of Nassau and Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island — showing even less activity in September and October.

Each year, visitors and overnight guests — called stopovers — contribute in excess of 1.5 billion dollars to the local economy. From January to May 1999, there were 1,662,626 foreign visitors to The Islands Of The Bahamas — up 13.8 percent over the same time period in 1998. Nassau and Paradise Island attracted the most visitors — showing a 19.7 percent increase as a first port of entry for foreign air arrivals and a 27 percent increase in cruise visitors. These, together with the private boaters and cruise stopovers brought by the Incat from Miami, contributed to a 23.8 percent increase to the end of May. Grand Bahama Island, with 311,625 foreign arrivals, and Eleuthera, with 108,213 arrivals to the end of May 1999, round out the top three destinations in The Islands Of The Bahamas.

 

A Profile Of The Vacationer And Their Vacation In Nassau And Paradise Island

The Exit Surveys done by The Islands Of The Bahamas reveal extensive information on the destination and the vacationer. The most recent survey, done in 1997, revealed the following about visitors to Nassau and Paradise Island.

Trip Characteristics

  • 70% of the stopover visitors were on vacation.
  • 29% chose The Islands Of The Bahamas because of the beaches.
  • 14% were visiting on a combination Florida/Islands Of The Bahamas vacation.
  • 56% had bought a package.

Prior Travel Experience

  • 49% were visiting Nassau and Paradise Island for the first time.
  • 31% of stopover visitors indicated that their previous visit on a cruise ship had influenced them to make a land-based trip.

Likelihood Of Return/Likelihood To Recommend To Friends And Relatives

  • 80% of the stopovers stated an intention to return to The Islands Of The Bahamas in the next five years after their visit to Nassau and Paradise Island.
  • 89% of stopover visitors said they were very likely to recommend The Islands Of The Bahamas to their friends and relatives after their visit to Nassau and Paradise Island.

Expenditures

  • Stopovers spent, on average, $983 per visit to Nassau and Paradise Island.
  • 25% of it was spent on accommodations.
  • 29% was spent on prepaid packages.
  • 15% was spent in casinos.
  • 14% was spent on meals and drinks.
  • 9% was spent on shopping.
  • 4% was spent on local transportation.
  • 1% was spent on inter-island transportation.

Product Satisfaction Ratings

Of the people surveyed in 1997 who visited Nassau and Paradise Island:

  • 35% said the hotel rooms were much better or better than expected.
  • 44% said the hotel food was much better or better than expected.
  • 46% said the hotel service was much better or better than expected.
  • 27% said the hotel value for money was much better or better than expected.
  • 37% said it was as easy to get to as expected.
  • 59% said the beaches were much better or better than expected.
  • 50% said the climate was much better or better than expected.
  • 64% said the attitude of the people was much better or better than expected.
  • 45% said the restaurant food was much better or better than expected.
  • 41% said the restaurant service was much better or better than expected.
  • 27% said the casinos were much better or better than expected.
  • 25% said the shops and stores were much better or better than expected.
  • 21% said the sightseeing and tours were much better or better than expected.
  • 22% said the sports facilities were much better or better than expected.
  • 18% said the nightlife was much better or better than expected.
  • 36% said the value for money was much better or better than expected.
  • 57% said that The Islands Of The Bahamas overall rated much better or better than expected.
  • And 54% of those returning to The Islands Of The Bahamas via Nassau and Paradise Island found it much better or better than their last trip.

Demographics

  • Visitors tend to be young and affluent.
  • 55% of stopovers were couples.
  • 53% had household incomes of over $60,000 US.
  • 27% had household incomes (before taxes) of $100,000 U.S. plus.
  • 72% of stopover visitors to Nassau and Paradise Island in 1997 were between the ages of 25 and 54 years old.
  • 59% were either college graduates or post graduates. 

A Profile Of The Vacationer And Their Vacation In Grand Bahama Island

The Exit Surveys done by The Islands Of The Bahamas reveal extensive information on the destination and the vacationer. The last survey, done in 1997, revealed the following about visitors to Grand Bahama Island.

Trip Characteristics

  • 80% of the stopover visitors were on vacation.
  • 20% chose The Islands Of The Bahamas because of the beaches.
  • 10% were visiting on a combination Florida/Islands Of The Bahamas vacation.
  • 67% had bought a package.

Prior Travel Experience

  • 50% were visiting Grand Bahama Island for the first time.
  • 40% of stopover visitors indicated that their previous visit on a cruise ship had influenced them to make a land-based trip.

Likelihood Of Return/Likelihood To Recommend To Friends And Relatives

  • 79% of the stopovers stated an intention to return to The Islands Of The Bahamas in the next five years after their visit to Grand Bahama Island.
  • 88% of stopover visitors said they were very or somewhat likely to recommend The Islands Of The Bahamas to their friends and relatives after their visit to Grand Bahama Island.

Expenditures

  • Stopovers spent, on average, $506 per visit to Grand Bahama Island.
  • 18% of it was spent on accommodations.
  • 17% was spent on prepaid packages.
  • 19% was spent in casinos.
  • 20% was spent on meals and drinks.
  • 13% was spent on shopping.
  • 5% was spent on local transportation.
  • 1% was spent on inter-island transportation.

Product Satisfaction Ratings

Of the people surveyed in 1997 who visited Grand Bahama Island:

  • 31% said the hotel rooms were much better or better than expected.
  • 37% said the hotel food was much better or better than expected.
  • 41% said the hotel service was much better or better than expected.
  • 33% said the hotel value for money was much better or better than expected.
  • 41% said it was as easy to get as expected.
  • 44% said the beaches were much better or better than expected.
  • 47% said the climate was much better or better than expected.
  • 56% said the attitude of the people was much better or better than expected.
  • 39% said the restaurant food was much better or better than expected.
  • 37% said the restaurant service was much better or better than expected.
  • 25% said the casinos were much better or better than expected.
  • 28% said the shops and stores were much better or better than expected.
  • 24% said the sightseeing and tours were much better or better than expected.
  • 27% said the nightlife was much better or better than expected
  • 21% said the sports facilities were much better or better than expected.
  • 40% said the value for money was much better or better than expected.
  • 53% said that The Islands Of The Bahamas overall rated much better or better than expected.
  • And 40% of those returning to The Islands Of The Bahamas via Grand Bahama Island found it much better or better than their last trip.

Demographics

  • Visitors tend to be young and affluent.
  • 54% of stopovers were couples.
  • 44% had household incomes over $60,000 US.
  • 18% had household incomes (before taxes) of over $100,000 US.
  • 68% of stopover visitors to Grand Bahama Island in 1997 were between the ages of 25 and 54 years old.
  • 48% were either college graduates or post graduates. 

A Profile Of The Vacationer And Their Vacation In The Out Islands

The Exit Surveys done by The Islands Of The Bahamas reveal extensive information on the destination and the vacationer. The last survey, done in 1997, revealed the following about visitors to The Out Islands.

Trip Characteristics

  • 74% of the stopover visitors were on vacation.
  • 29% chose The Islands Of The Bahamas because of the beaches.
  • 19% were visiting on a combination Florida/Islands Of The Bahamas vacation.
  • 27% had bought a package.

Prior Travel Experience

  • 35% were visiting The Bahamas for the first time.
  • 24% of stopover visitors indicated that their previous visit on a cruise ship had influenced them to make a land-based trip.

Likelihood Of Return/Likelihood To Recommend To Friends And Relatives

  • 88% of the stopovers stated an intention to return to The Islands Of The Bahamas in the next five years after their visit to The Out Islands.
  • 93% of stopover visitors said they were very or somewhat likely to recommend The Islands Of The Bahamas to their friends and relatives after their visit to The Out Islands.

Expenditures

  • Stopovers spent, on average, $840 per visit to The Out Islands.
  • 41% of it was spent on accommodations.
  • 17% was spent on prepaid packages.
  • 18% was spent on meals and drinks.
  • 6% was spent on shopping.
  • 5% was spent on local transportation.
  • 2% was spent on inter-island transportation.

Product Satisfaction Ratings

Of the people surveyed in 1997 who visited The Out Islands:

  • 30% said the hotel rooms were much better or better than expected.
  • 42% said the hotel food was much better or better than expected.
  • 39% said the hotel service was much better or better than expected.
  • 22% said the hotel value for money was much better or better than expected.
  • 27% said it was as easy to get as expected.
  • 60% said the beaches were much better or better than expected.
  • 49% said the climate was much better or better than expected.
  • 63% said the attitude of the people was much better or better than expected.
  • 39% said the restaurant food was much better or better than expected.
  • 32% said the restaurant service was much better or better than expected
  • 16% said the shops and stores were much better or better than expected.
  • 11% said the sightseeing and tours were much better or better than expected.
  • 19% said the sports facilities were much better or better than expected.
  • 12% said the nightlife was much better or better than expected.
  • 35% said the value for money was much better or better than expected.
  • 58% said that The Islands Of The Bahamas overall rated much better or better than expected.
  • And 47% of those returning to the Islands Of The Bahamas via The Out Islands found it much better or better than their last trip.

Demographics

  • Visitors tend to be young and affluent.
  • 42% of stopovers were couples.
  • 55% had household incomes of over $60,000 U.S.
  • 32% had household incomes (before taxes) of over $100,000 US.
  • 71% of stopover visitors to The Out Islands in 1997 were between the ages of 25 and 54 years old.Source: Bahamas Government.