Bahamas Tourism Sees Skyrocketing Arrivals via Cruise Ships

According to reports from the Bahamas tourism industry, 2023 could become the country’s most prosperous year for visitors.

The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation has announced that the country has surpassed expectations by receiving over 5.89 million visitors in the first seven months of 2023.

bahamas tourism records 2023
Leaving Nassau, Bahamas on a cruise ship. (Photo via Doug Parker/Cruise Radio)

This year, it is anticipated that there will be 8 million. Almost 80 percent of tourists in The Bahamas arrive via cruise ships.

“We are experiencing explosive growth that transcends post-pandemic demand,” said Deputy Prime Minister Cooper. He emphasized the government’s commitment to providing Bahamians with the necessary resources to capitalize on this tourism boom.

Bahamas Tourism: By the numbers

2023 Visitor Arrivals in The Bahamas YTD
Info provided by Bahamas Tourism.

By Mode of Arrival

  • Air Arrivals: 1,133,494
  • Sea Arrivals: 4,759,624

Year-to-Date Comparison

  • 59% ahead of 2022
  • 30% ahead of 2019

Peak Month

  • March 2023: 951,311 arrivals, the busiest month in Bahamian history.

Financial Impact of Bahamas Tourism

The area is also seeing an increase in money being spent in The Bahamas. The average daily dollars spent is up 59 percent compared to 2019. That year, the country saw $4.15 billion in visitor spending.

It’s worth mentioning that hotel rates are also up 42 percent from that same period in 2019.

Tax Increase Coming in 2024

Aerial view of Half Moon Cay
Aerial view of Half Moon Cay. (Photo via Carnival)

Starting in January, there will be a new visitor tax. Originally, it was supposed to start in July, but the cruise lines asked for it to be postponed.

The main concern was that the new tax was introduced too abruptly, and it was difficult for the lines to inform their guests about the increased taxes with such little notice.

Come the first of the year, the government will implement a $5 tourism environmental tax and a $2 tourism enhancement tax per passenger starting in January.

For cruise ship calls made to Nassau and Freeport, the tax per cruise passenger will now be $23 instead of $18. If the cruise stops at a private island and does not stop at Freeport or Nassau, the tax will be $25.

Earlier this year, Nassau opened a $300 million cruise terminal and expanded its dock area for cruise ships.

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