Tourism sector targets Chinese travel market

The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA) teamed with executives from Atlantis, Baha Mar, The Pointe and Majestic Tours to expose The Bahamas to the Chinese tourism market.

Dionisio D'Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation, led the combined public-private sector delegation on a tour of media outlets and tour operators in Beijing and Shanghai, in a bid to drive home the message that "The Bahamas is a viable destination for Chinese tourists".

"This is the ideal time for The Bahamas to capitalise on promotional marketing efforts as Chinese tourists are searching for new and exciting destinations to visit," said the Ministry of Tourism's deputy director-general, Ellison Thompson.

In less than two decades, China has become the world's most powerful outbound travel market, surpassing the US. According to the United Nations' World Travel Organisation (UNTWO), in 2016 Chinese tourists spent more than $261.1bn in travel - and that number is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years.

"Chinese tourists are critical players in the global tourism arena, and our presence here is just one of many efforts to offer and further promote the multiple and diverse islands of The Bahamas to this important group of travellers and, simultaneously, work with China's local media and travel influencers in ensuring that our message is resonated loud and clear to their audiences," said Joy Jibrilu, the Ministry of Tourism's director-general.

The Bahamian group's visit comes as American Airlines is also expected to launch heavily discounted airline tickets for Chinese citizens travelling to The Bahamas via the US.

Tourism executives who joined the Ministry of Tourism on the China expedition included Wendy Blaney, senior vice-president of sales for Atlantis; Russell Miller, senior vice-president and general manager with responsibility for the Cove and Reef properties; Robert Sands, senior vice-president of administration and external relations for Baha Mar; Karin Salinas, vice-president of marketing for Baha Mar; Daniel Lu, president of The Pointe; and BJ Saunders of Majestic Tours.

"Traveling great distances to promote The Bahamas is no easy task, but it speaks volumes that our local partners are here and recognise the importance of missions such as these to our domestic tourism product," said Mrs Jibrilu.

"This is only the beginning of a truly remarkable partnership between The Bahamas and China, and we are so excited about the endless future opportunities."