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PM: GB tourism must link with industry

Speaking at the Bahamas International Investment and Business Forum being held in Freeport this week, Prime Minister Perry Christie (pictured) said that the tourism sector must develop ties with industry to realize untapped potential. (Photo Harry Cutting/©Dupuch Publications) 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The tourism sector must team up with industry to realize growth, especially in Grand Bahama, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie, who opened the Bahamas International Investment and Business Forum (BIIBF) in Freeport this morning.


The Prime Minister’s keynote address touched on how to improve the tourism product, how to realize the opportunities presented by the island’s natural advantages and the potential of the maritime sector.

“The single greatest challenge to the tourism industry of The Bahamas is that we have not been as effective as we ought to have been in establishing linkages with industry,” Christie told the audience of investors and leading local business figures.

The Prime Minister went on to highlight the domestic manufacturing and agricultural businesses that could cater for tourists, adding: “These are opportunities that are not being taken advantage of.”

Grand Bahama welcomes around a million visitors each year–most of whom arrive on cruise ships.

“Grand Bahama is a place of great expectations for Bahamian tourism,” said Christie. “There is much that remains to be done to revive and expand the tourism product, so that our guests can have a more thrilling and pleasurable experience.”

The Prime Minister suggested that Grand Bahama market itself as a destination for fun and excitement, as opposed to targeting cultural or eco-tourism, saying: “We have to brand it as a city where you can come and be entertained.”

He also spoke of the island’s second-home market and niche tourism industries, such as medical tourism, as potential drivers of growth.

The BIIBF, which is hosted by the Commonwealth Business Council in collaboration with the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA), runs through February 22.

Speakers include chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Ian Fair, Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder and Minister of State for Investment Khaalis Rolle.

cmorris@dupuch.com

The CARICOM 24th Annual Heads of Government Meeting wrapped up in Haiti yesterday. Watch a ZNS news report on the meeting here.

During his keynote address at the Bahamas International Investment and Business Forum this morning, Prime Minister Perry Christie said that the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015 could bring benefits to Grand Bahama's shipping industry.

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