The first quarter of 2001 saw all records broken again in tourism, the #1 industry of The Bahamas. Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest reports that preliminary visitor arrival figures stood at 1,609,174 at the end of the first quarter — a 6.9% increase over the same period last year, with projections for an 8% increase in tourist expenditures.

2000 was a record year in The Bahamas for tourist arrivals and expenditures, topping 4 million and $1.8 billion, respectively. Last year, expenditure figures represented an increase of $500 million over the previous year, with per capita expenditure for stopovers standing at a record high of $1,041. Other records broken were average room rates, cruise visitor levels, stopover levels, and visitor nights.

According to visitor surveys in 2000, 89% of visitors to The Bahamas felt their overall experience met or exceeded expectations — auguring well for continued growth and development.

In his Budget 2001/2002 communication to the House of Assembly, Finance Minister Sir William Allen pointed out that there should be no doubt that The Bahamas is embracing the opportunities presented by globalisation. “Our record in Government demonstrates clearly that we are steadfast in our commitment to maintaining The Bahamas as a premier tourism destination”, said Sir William.

The Finance Minister also pointed out that the continued expansion in tourism, which accounts for approximately 40% of annual output, confirms the success of the industry’s efforts to restore and maintain competitiveness.