Monday, November 8, 2010

WTM 2010: Bahamas to push twin-centres with US
The Bahamas is to increase its focus on twin-centre holidays with the US as it looks to reverse a downward trend in UK visitor numbers.

It is also continuing to market the various islands and products available outside the mainstays of Nassau and Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island and is looking to target special-interest operators to expand its niche business.

Although overall visitor numbers to the Bahamas are up, UK business is down 10% on 2009, which was down on 2008. Despite the dip, minister of tourism senator Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace is bullish about the coming year.

“Forward bookings suggest business is coming back and we have set ambitious targets to return to, and even exceed, 2008 levels,” he said.

“I wouldn’t describe business as good, but it’s not bad and it is heading in the right direction,” Vanderpool-Wallace said.

Vanderpool-Wallace said the Bahamas would continue to promote the range of commissionable products available through mainstream and specialist operators and agents, including those focusing on niche markets such as diving and sailing.

The key to delivering increased numbers was highlighting the accessibility of the islands from Florida and the ease of taking a twin-centre holiday, he added.

“The lift from the UK into Florida is significant, so we need to focus on maximising that business with connecting flights to the islands,” he said.

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