Abaco’s tourism sector is showing growth and resilience with 47,000 stopover visitors year-to-date and airlift capacity for international arrivals increasing for the third straight year according to deputy director-general of tourism Ellison Thompson.
Mr. Thompson said, “In terms of air seat capacity, Abaco is up 9 per cent in 2016 over 2015, and a lot of that has to do with the new Delta fight into Marsh Harbour from Atlanta.
“Load factors in the 90 percent on Delta are extremely positive for the destination; however, the rest of the international flights are around 70 percent. That is not as healthy as it could be.”
He indicated that in order for the airlines to be making money you have to have load factors in the 90 percent region. Silver Airlines accounts for half of the non-stop travel into Abaco in 2016, but American Airlines has upgraded to a larger plane, so Abaco is receiving more passengers per flight.
“Eight percent of your business is now coming from the Atlanta gateway; before it was Florida and this can only grow as we get more connections out of the Atlanta gateway,” Mr. Thompson said.
According to statistics he shared, stopover visitors to Abaco in 2015 numbered 99,725, with 65,000 coming by commercial airlines and 21,900 arriving by private planes. A further 7,000 came by private boats.
Mr. Thompson added: “Abaco is clearly poised for success, but we have to see how we can globally position Abaco. We have to make sure that the products are pristine and state-of-the-art.”