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Bahamas Tourism Minister urges Family Island promotion

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace said that although the tourism industry had fared well in 2012, there was still room for improvement, particularly when it comes to promoting the Family Islands. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Friday, January 13, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012

The tourism sector is performing well and is expected to grow this year, according to Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace. He also commented, however, that there was still room for improvement in the industry.

At the 21st annual Bahamas Business Outlook conference, held at the Wyndham Nassau resort yesterday, Minister Vanderpool-Wallace told attendees that the tourism sector performed well in 2011, with over 3 million cruise ship passengers visiting the country. The Bahamas also recorded the highest daily spend per visitor in the region.


However, the Minister noted that the industry needed to hone in on its untapped resources and promote the Family Islands as alternative destinations to Nassau and Paradise Island, saying: “As far as I’m concerned, we do not have a tourism problem in The Bahamas, we have an asset utilisation problem.”

“There is no business on earth that is more competitive. If you are going to rely very heavily on tourism, you have to be very competent in tourism.”

Minister Vanderpool-Wallace said that in the coming months, the Department of Tourism would begin updating its website to better encompass the Family Islands and market each with its own unique brand. He also called for better infrastructure on the islands and improved transportation links.

“We have to make sure people have access to these islands… where people can move around freely and easily.”

In the meantime, the Minister said, he was optimistic about the sector’s performance in 2012.

“We are going to find ourselves in a much better position in the first quarter [of 2012] than we have seen for some time. We are beginning to move ourselves out of the recession.”

The government expects to see a 15 per cent rise in group business in the first quarter of the year.

Total visitor numbers last year were boosted considerably by the introduction of a direct flight between Nassau and Panama, provided by Copa Airlines. According to the Minister, the service, which began in June 2011 and is now operating six flights a week, is the fastest growing in Copa Airlines’ history.

cboal@dupuch.com

Speaking at the 21st annual Bahamas Business Outlook conference yesterday, Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing said he expects the economy to grow 2.5 to 2.8 per cent this year. He also pledged that the government would attempt to curb spending.

Director General of Tourism says that delegates will enjoy a wide variety of activities at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's Caribbean Marketplace conference to be held at Atlantis Paradise Island towards the end of the month. Watch the video here.

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