The Bahamas – official Island Travel Partner at ITB China 2019
For the very first time the archipelagic nation of the Bahamas joined China’s B2B travel trade show this year with a dedicated Bahamas pavilion to explore all of their islands and do business with Chinese buyers.
The Bahamas is sprinkled over 100,000 square miles of ocean, starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. It comprises 700 breath- taking islands, over 2,000 rocks and cays, and boasts the clearest water on the planet with a visibility of over 200 feet. Travelers can see their toes as easily as they can the world’s third largest fringing barrier reef. Under the heading “The Islands of The Bahamas – The Perfect Island Travel Destination” visitors were able to discover more about the ecological oasis in a dedicated keynote speech which was held yesterday in the presentation hub at ITB China.
Indeed, island travel is on the growth path. Chinese travellers continue to hone their concept of leisure due to rapid urbanisation in the country, as the ITB China Travel Trends Report has revealed. Among the chosen foreign holiday options, island travel products remain in high demand, as has been the case for years. The market size of island trips exceeds RMB100 billion (approximately US$14.6bn) and travel companies are reporting an expected compound annual growth rate of 35% in the next three years.
Paul Strachan, Senior Director Canada of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, said, “We have participated in ITB Berlin for many years and always found it to be very productive. This will be our first time at ITB China, and we’re excited about the opportunities this would allow for us to meet and engage with travel professionals from across China. For the past few years, we’ve seen steady, organic growth from China, so we’re confident that our participation and partnership with ITB China would increase our visitor arrivals from China even more”.
What attracts Chinese visitors to the Bahamas?
There are several factors that attract Chinese visitors to the Bahamas. These include its beautiful beaches, world class resorts, multiple islands and more importantly, its famous swimming pigs!
“The Bahamas stands out as a premier island destination primarily because unlike other Caribbean destinations, The Bahamas is made up 700 islands, so vacationers can choose from multi-islands, and have various types of vacation experiences all during one vacation,” says Strachan.
“Our famous swimming pigs is an attraction that has been making The Bahamas stand out all over the world,” he said. Various established media brands have covered the rising popularity of swimming with pigs on Major Big Cay Island. Visitors can interact with the pigs in the warm water or on the island’s white-sand beach.
Additionally, The Bahamas continues to stand out because of their two major resorts – Atlantis Paradise Island (the world’s largest open-air marine habitat; Aquaventure, a 141-acre water park etc.) and Baha Mar. In the case of Baha Mar which opened two years ago, it is the largest newly built resort complex in the region, with the largest casino in the Caribbean.
The number of Chinese travellers visiting The Bahamas is growing steadily. Over the past five years, visitor numbers increased by 80.36%. There were approximately 3,500 Chinese visitors to The Bahamas last year.
Different island destinations appeal to different profiles. Some of the islands in The Bahamas have large, casino hotels, some a have family style resorts, and some have smaller, cosy and romance- themed resorts. Remote islands have fewer amenities and things to do, so this type of island would typically appeal to newlyweds or romantic travellers. Conversely, an island with larger resorts, with nightlife and lots of activities will be more appealing to millennial and/or solo travellers.
“The larger percentage of Chinese travellers to The Bahamas are females between the ages of 25 and 34, who travel for vacation. Business travellers and honeymooners also make up a significant number of our visitors,” concludes Strachan.