The Bahamas has seen its highest numbers in visitor arrivals in December 2017 compared to a decade ago. 151,454 passengers landed at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in December and another 140,314 in January. Up by nearly 15,000 in the month of December alone, the numbers represented the highest figures since the pre-recession holidays of 2007/2008. Preliminary results for March with Easter falling the 1st of April are even more impressive – up by 24% over 2017 arrivals to date and greater records expected in the next week.
More than 3.3 million passengers pass through LPIA every year with the airport serving 55 destinations via 24 airlines. Officials from The Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) predicted its busiest Easter weekend after the increase in numbers in December and January, with bookings looking strong in the coming months. This increase is largely attributed to visitors from the USA and Canada. The bitter long winter in North America has influenced these arrivals with many people escaping the colder weather and snow for the warmer climate of The Bahamas. NAD officials confirm the appeal of the warmer weather, beautiful beaches and friendly locals are attracting more visitors from these markets, in addition to airlines adding seats. Air Canada and West Jet, both of which serve Canada and account for the bulk of increases in the non-U.S. international arrivals, have altered flight schedules and are flying at nearly 90% capacity.
On Saturday, March 24, The Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) handled 1,014 aircraft movements, nearly double the 600 or so movements on a typical day. One of the strongest segments was private FBOs, including Jet Aviation and Odyssey Aviation.
Other factors attributing to passenger arrivals are the strength of the U.S dollar, an increase in tourism marketing and the opening of Baha Mar Hotel. One of the major tourist attractions – the Swimming Pigs in Exuma has attracted many visitors to that island according to a recent survey. In addition, Expedia has recently released figures showing The Bahamas was among the top three regional destinations for travel. In order to meet the demand in arrivals, NAD Executives and tourism partners are adding to the visitor experience, with a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere at LPIA, comfortable lounges, restaurants, shopping, local entertainment and even outdoor patios to allow visitors to pass the time and enjoy the sun before departing.