The Bahamas Weekly
Monday, December 12, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
FREEPORT, Bahamas – With an active cruise year on the horizon for 2012, officials of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) are partnering with Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the Freeport Harbour Company (FHC) and the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) to host a “Tourism Opportunity, Awareness and Training Seminar in an effort to better Grand Bahama’s tourism product rankings.
According to GBPA President, Mr. Ian Rolle, with the expected increase in cruise ship calls for 2012, Grand Bahama has some work to do in order to boost its tourism product ratings. “Earlier this year, Grand Bahama received very low ratings as a cruise port by passengers; we hope to change that,” he shared. “By bringing industry stakeholders and partners together, we can collectively address the specific request and or complaints of passengers visiting the island, then determine what measures could be put in place quickly to raise Grand Bahama’s rankings as a tourism destination.”
“Tourism plays a vital role in Grand Bahama’s economy and most of our tourists arrive via cruise ships” Rolle continued. “Therefore, it is critical to ensure that passengers enjoy a pleasant experience, for repeat and new business. This seminar will allow stakeholders to engage cruise industry officials to not only hear complaints, but also solutions to improving Grand Bahama’s cruise tourism product.”
Derek Newbold, Business Development Manager at GBPA shared that plans are already underway with industry partners FHC and MOT to offer the Tourism Opportunity, Awareness and Training Seminar which will be open to existing and potential stakeholders in Grand Bahama’s tourism market.
“The 2012 outlook for Freeport’s cruise sector is extremely positive,” stated Newbold. “With that being the case, we want to ensure that our licensees are aware of the weaknesses as documented by previous passengers and by product development leaders within the cruise industry so that we correct and strengthen our position as a tourism destination.” Mr. Newbold further explained.
As part of the Tourism Opportunity, Awareness and Training Seminar, attendees will receive information regarding the 2012 Cruise Forecast for Freeport, areas of opportunity for existing and new businesses, and most importantly, training on improving Freeport’s tourism product.
“At the end of the day, it’s about creating opportunities not only for our visitors but residents as well,” commented Rolle. “This seminar will help us, to not only create new vacation experiences for our visitors, but may also result in increased job opportunities for Bahamians. So, it’s a win-win situation all around.”
The seminar is scheduled for early next year and will feature key sessions hosted by officials of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association. It will also provide information for new business start-up for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as capital procurement for existing business wanting to expand. Persons interested in attending the seminar may contact the Business Development Department of GBPA for further details.