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MOTA Minister calls for better use of technology in tourism

Speaking at the First Regional Seminar on Tourism held today in Nassau, Minister of State for Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace called for greater use of technology by SMEs in the sector. The two-day seminar has attracted tourism representatives from across the Caribbean 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key to the success of the Bahamian tourism industry, according to Minister of State for Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace.

However, in order to harness their potential in the sector, there needs to be more emphasis on public-private partnership, greater use of technology and enhanced marketing. The Minister made the comments as he opened the First Regional Seminar on Tourism: SMEs and Tourism Development in the Caribbean Region, today in Nassau.

The two-day event, which is being held at the Sheraton on Cable Beach, has attracted tourism representatives from across the Caribbean and is co-sponsored by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

“When we talk about SMEs being the engine for long-term growth [in tourism], we have the resolve to make it come true. We are committed to this idea that SMEs are very important to us,” said the Minister, who went on to highlight the marketing gap for smaller hotels in The Bahamas, saying they needed to reach customers online.

“Even in the best year for tourism in The Bahamas, we had an average of 3,000 vacant rooms in the smaller properties,” he said. “When we look within The Bahamas, we have 280 licensed hotels. Only about 40 can be booked electronically. When we are promoting ourselves, we have to make sure there are ways we can bring those smaller properties into the fold.

“A fundamental requirement of all the properties across the region is a piece of infrastructure–an electronic backbone. If we do not do that, we will be underperforming.”

The Minister said he is also keen to bring airline services online to make it easier for visitors to plan their trips. “We have eight domestic scheduled airlines that, by and large, are invisible [to the international market]. Once you can book electronically we will have made a substantial leap forward,” he explained.

To further aid the tourism sector, Minister Vanderpool-Wallace called for greater collaboration between SMEs and government, saying that the two groups could strategize together to make the most of investment in the sector.

During the two-day event, delegates at the First Regional Seminar on Tourism will also hear from representatives from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, CARICOM and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.


Forensic accounting expert Edmund Rahming, managing director of Krys Global, calls for greater powers to recover losses in insolvency cases. “Much consideration needs to be given in formulating a strategy that will allow for the maximum recovery against third parties,” he says.

Speaking at the First Regional Seminar on Tourism held in Nassau this week, United Nations World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) regional director for the Americas said that tourism was proving resilient despite recent challenges. The seminar is being held at the Sheraton and runs through today.

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