By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Tourism always knew its COVID-19 recovery would be “drip, drip”, a senior official said yesterday, as he revealed that “off the hook” Family Island interest is starting to translate into actual bookings.
Kerry Fountain, the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board’s (BOIPB) executive director, told Tribune Business that the post-pandemic rebound was never going to be akin to “turning on a faucet” despite the resurgence in interest among both domestic and international travellers.
He revealed that major domestic travel distributors, Majestic Holidays and BahamaGo, were reporting the “conversion” of significant interest into actual bookings as Bahamians and residents sought to escape then “cabin fever” they have been suffering since the COVID-19 lockdown was first imposed in mid-March.
Attributing this demand at least partially to the success of the Promotion Board’s “two fly free” campaign, Mr Fountain added that Bahamas Ferries - which had never inquired about it in the previous five years - was now showing interest in becoming a participant along with other Bahamas-based travel businesses.
As for the international market, he revealed that the Promotion Board’s website was now receiving 15,000 hits a week - the same amount it attracted during the 2020 first quarter - within two weeks of The Bahamas’ borders re-opening to foreign travellers.
He readily acknowledged, though, that “the noise in the marketplace can’t be taken to the bank” even though this was starting to translate into bookings, and said actual visitor numbers and spending will only return to pre-COVID-19 levels once a vaccine has become available. Read more >>