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STEMM Project offers support to tourism SMEs – video

Speaking at the First Regional Seminar on Tourism, project manager for the Sustainable Tourism Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing (STEMM) Project, Dr T Jennifer Edwards, said that smaller hotels, particularly in the Family Islands, need more support in terms of business management, promotion and marketing. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Friday, September 16, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011

Bahamas PetroleumSmall and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are at the forefront of the tourism sector in The Bahamas, but face certain systemic problems, according to sustainable tourism specialist Dr T Jennifer Edwards.

Edwards is project manager for the Sustainable Tourism Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing (STEMM) Project, which launched in The Bahamas in 2006 with the aim of providing support for small and SMEs in the tourism sector. The initiative is being partly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.

The sustainable tourism consultant, who has worked with both the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation and the Bahamas Hotel Association, said SMEs contribute over 20 per cent to the country’s economic activity, with small hotels–those with four to 75 rooms–comprising 90 per cent of the entire hotel sector.


Despite their growing influence on the industry however, Edwards warns that small businesses are lacking key tools that would improve their productivity.

Speaking at the First Regional Seminar on Tourism: SMEs and Tourism Development held in Nassau earlier this month, Edwards said: “The key challenge for most SMEs in The Bahamas is weak business management support. They have so many things to do and it is usually just one person wearing many hats. There is a slow response to a changing economic environment.”

She also highlighted difficulties in obtaining financial assistance, lack of innovation and poor access to external markets as factors harming SMEs’ potential.

“The family islands are lagging behind on entrepreneurship. Access to external markets is weak and [most SMEs] are ineffective in their use of technology,” she commented.

“The core needs of SMEs are business support services and promotion and marketing.”

The STEMM Project aims to combat these problems by creating an SME tourism network throughout the islands. The network will ensure local consultants are on hand to provide technical support, improve managerial performance and increase marketing efforts.

Under the scheme, SMEs will collaborate to increase their buying power when purchasing equipment and get support from a local agency. The project leaders are currently waiting for legislation to be put in place to create these bodies.

To learn more about the STEMM Project watch the video.

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