Bahamas a big tourism spender

WASHINGTON D.C., United States October 30, 2008 – The Bahamas is shelling out major bucks, compared to their Caribbean neighbours, to woo tourists to that country.

An examination of the latest Foreign Agents Registration report, released by the United States Department of Justice, found that the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism shelled out over US$42 million in tourism in 2007, the latest data available from the department.

In the first half of 2007 alone, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism spent just over US$19 million for the six-month period ending June 30, 2007 on conventions, familiarization trips, expos, trade/consumer shows, conferences, and seminars, according to the report. In the second half of the year, the Ministry spent another US$21.2 million on the same type of promotion.

Ironically, in the same year, the islands experienced a drop in tourist arrivals – for both stop-over and cruise ship arrivals, according to Caribbean Tourism data from that year.

The Bahamas clearly outspent other Caribbean nations, according to the reports, with its spending totaling a fraction of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO) budget for the entire year. The CTO’s promotional budget was just over $3 million for the entire 2007.

The only country closet to the Bahamas’ spending was Bermuda, which shelled out US$9.9 million for the six-month period ending June 30, 2007 and US$12 million for the remainder of the year.

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism was right behind, spending US$7.2 million up to March 31, 2007 and another US$6.4 million on advertising and public relations services for the six-month period ending September 30.

Barbados reported spending just US$3.2 million, the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board spent less than US$1 million up to October 31, while the St Lucia Tourist Board said it spent $222,672.95 on expos and trade shows in 2007.

The Jamaica Tourist Board did not report its tourism advertising spending but said it spent US$417,948 for the six-month period ending September 30, 2007 and US$547,385 for the six month period ending March 31 for public relations services that included disseminating press releases to travel, trade and consumer lifestyle media and to national and regional newspapers in the US and engaging in media relations, special events, and crisis communications. (Caribworldnews)