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Baha Mar, China Embassy look to boost tourism ties

Executives of Baha Mar–the $3.5-billion integrated destination resort project on New Providence–met with China’s Ambassador to The Bahamas to discuss the potential for increased tourism between the two countries. Pictured: Tom Dunlap, president of Baha Mar (far left) and Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar’s chairman and chief executive officer (centre), speak with Yuan Guisen, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. (Photo courtesy Baha Mar)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Executives of Baha Mar, the $3.5-billion integrated destination resort project on New Providence, met with China’s Ambassador to The Bahamas to discuss the potential for increased tourism between The Bahamas and China, which is now ranked as the world’s biggest-spending nation on international travel.

Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar’s chairman and chief executive officer, Tom Dunlap, Baha Mar’s president, and Robert Sands, senior vice president of administration and external affairs, met recently with Yuan Guisen, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Along with other issues, the officials discussed the ongoing development of airlift from cities in mainland China, outreach to potential Chinese visitors, and raising awareness among travel agents and consumers of the ease of travel between the two countries.

The discussion followed the announcement in December 2013 of a Bahamian-China visa accord, which allows mutual 30-day access to Bahamian and Chinese passport holders without requiring a visa.

“Our ties with China will be key in helping to diversify The Bahamas’ global tourism base,” said Izmirlian.

“We’re grateful for the Chinese government’s ongoing efforts to further develop relations between our countries. It’s particularly important to Baha Mar, which stands to benefit by providing a unique travel experience—an authentic Bahamian resort offering the full complement of luxury accommodations, golf, casino gaming, spa treatments and access to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.”

China’s burgeoning middle class and affluent citizens have become highly influential global travelers, buoyed by the country’s recent economic growth.

In 2012, Chinese surpassed US and German citizens to become the world’s top international tourism spenders, with 83 million people spending $102 billion on worldwide travel, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). By 2015, 100 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad, the organization reported.

Chinese travelers have helped to make Macau and Singapore the world’s fastest-growing gaming resort destinations. Macau’s gaming revenues soared to $46 billion in 2013, far surpassing the $6.5 billion generated by Las Vegas Strip resorts, according to data from government and Wall Street sources.

During a recent country visit, Scotiabank’s senior vice president and head of the Caribbean region, Bruce Bowen, along with Scotiabank Bahamas’ managing director, Sean Albert, paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Perry Christie.

Concierge Auctions, a luxury real estate auction firm serving high net-worth individuals worldwide, today announced the auction of Innocence Island, the largest privately held island in The Bahamas. Originally offered for $55 million, the island will be auctioned on May 15 at Trump SoHo New York. The property will sell to the highest bidder at or above a $10 million reserve in cooperation with George Damianos of Damianos Sotheby's International Realty.

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