The Bahamas experienced substantial economic growth between 2012 and 2016, driven largely by prosperity within the tourism sector. On the back of the global financial crisis, as the world began to recover, human and economic activity increased significantly in the Bahamas, particularly in the financial centre of capital Nassau.
Visitor growth has been largely increasing year on year in the Bahamas, with arrivals growing by 10% year on year in 2017. In 2018, the nation was named second in the Best Places to Travel list published by Conde Nast and there has been much talk about the area now being one of the most desirable destinations in the world.
Attracting the US Market
The US is the main feeder market of the Bahamas and efforts to promote US tourism have been successful in recent years. The popular television show Kelly and Ryan filmed four episodes in the Bahamas in 2016, reaching 16 million viewers.
The opening of the Baha Mar mega-resort in April 2018 also helped drive tourist traffic to the region. Part of the success of tourism in the Bahamas can also be credited to strong cruise traffic. Renting a bareboat yacht in the Bahamas is the perfect way to take in all the sights, sound and experiences with the freedom of open waters and the ability to go anywhere.
Baha Mar is a complex of three hotel brands in the nation’s capital, adding more than 2,000 rooms for accommodation in Nassau. Visitors have a choice of 42 individual restaurants, bars and lounges within the complex and multiple leisure options. These include dozens of retail outlets, a golf course, a spa and the largest casino in the whole of the Caribbean.
Set across 15 acres of prime beachfront location, Baha Mar also offer guests exclusive access to the stunning Baha Bay beach, with white sands and dazzling turquoise waters.
Atlantis Paradise Island
Atlantis Paradise Island was launched in 1994, following one of the hotel industry’s fastest ever major resort developments. Since that time, the island resort has become one of the most popular attractions in the region, providing direct and indirect employment for over 50,000 Bahamians since opening.
Atlantis is a unique water-based resort inspired by the legend of the lost city, featuring multiple swimming pools, a lazy river ride, waterfalls, clear lagoons and marine viewing stations including a clear underwater tunnel for observing shark habitats.
Atlantis Paradise Island has continued to expand over the years and offers premium entertainment and amenities for guests from around the world.
Cruising the Bahamas
Carnival Corp was granted permission in 2019 to develop the privately-owned Bahamian island Half Moon Cay with an $80 million expansion plan. This includes new landside facilities, a cruise pier and beach entertainment.
Sailing is a popular choice for getting around the Bahamas, whether guests join an ocean liner or charter a yacht. Half Moon Cay is one of the destinations most visited by tourists of all types, offering a plethora of entertainment options, spectacular views and ultimate relaxation spots.
Employment in Tourism
Tourism is a huge industry in the Bahamas, with almost half of all local residents directly employed by the tourism industry. When considering sectors that are indirectly influenced by tourism, such as construction workers building hotels, that figure leaps to around 70%. This is a significant proportion of the population heavily reliant on tourists visiting the region.
Economic policy in the Bahamas has been strongly geared towards supporting the tourism industry since 1992. In that year, the Bahamian government directly owned around 20% of all hotel rooms in the country. New policies in place since that time have focused on privatisation to broaden the economic benefits of the industry.
Hotel Development Projects
There have been many exciting new hotel development projects breaking ground in the Bahamas in recent years as investors seek to cash in on the tourism industry buzz. These include the GoldWynn project at Goodman’s Bay Beach, Margaritaville Beach Resort at The Pointe and a new $250 million development on Paradise Island. These new resorts will feature not only hundreds of hotel rooms and residences but also restaurants, retail outlets, office space and a transformed marina for those that want to charter a yacht.
The Bahamas is fast establishing itself as a prime luxury destination for travellers and holidaymakers from around the world.
Tourism revenue in the Bahamas has always been a key income stream for the country. In recent years this revenue has been rising, reaching US$4.44 billion in 2019, up from $3.47 billion in 2010. An estimated 7.25 million people visited the Bahamas in 2019, from locations around the world. With multiple new resort developments underway and investment in tourism and leisure remaining strong, this figure could rise as more people discover the Bahamas as a holiday destination.
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