||Last Updated: Jan 25, 2018 - 12:12:37 PM
Photo: Kemuel Stubbs
The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is looking to place emphasis on product development in 2018, according to Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu.
While speaking at the Bahamas Business Outlook 2018 under the theme “Creating a World-Class Bahamas” Ms. Jibrilu said improvements to the Bahamian tourism product is vital.
“For example, you may have heard that plans are on the drawing board for a pubic-private partnership for the revival of the Port of Nassau and its further development as a cruise destination,” she said.
The director general said a significant hurdle to the growth of air travel has been the physical operation of Family Island airports.
Therefore, the government has pledged $160 million to the revitalization of the most high trafficked airports like Abaco, Exuma, San Salvador, Eleuthera and South Bimini.
Additionally, smaller airports will also be revitalized for greater air traffic and business development.
Mrs. Jibrilu said despite numerous challenges, The Islands Of The Bahamas continues to benefit from existing and new airline partners.
She mentioned The Bahamas’ newest airline partner Condor and Bahamasair’s newest route from Nassau to Houston.
She added that the ministry stands ready with Bahamasair to explore other untapped US markets.
“Legacy carriers like American Airlines and Delta are benefiting from positive load factors to our major Family Islands with direct flights from cities like Atlanta, Newark and Charlotte hither to unheard of,” Ms. Jibrilu said.
The director general also touted robust marketing campaigns for the Islands of The Bahamas.
“Therefore, the ministry continues to collaborate with the promotion boards to further advertise and promote The Bahamas,” she said.
“These initiatives are augmented by Baha Mar resort marketing efforts of a $25 million global ad campaign to drive demand in its core markets as well as Atlantis’ relaunch of a global marketing campaign focused on the authentic Bahamian.”
Ms. Jibrilu noted that tourism accounted for 28.6 percent of the country’s GDP and accounted for 53,000 jobs in 2016.
In addition, The Bahamas received inflows of $552 million placing it third among all Caribbean recipients after the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
She added this figure will be expanded thanks to more capital works.
“Despite the suggestion that our travel economy could be expanded just by increasing hotel occupancy levels, approvals of capital projects have in fact kicked off another cycle of hotel inventory growth on Exuma, Bimini, Eleuthera, San Salvador and New Providence by well known international hotel brands that boost local employment such as Grand Hyatt, SLS at Baha Mar and the planned opening of Rosewood,” the director general said.
“Together, they join Melia, Hilton, Marriot and Holiday Inn Express, which are currently operating in New Providence and other islands. Properties on Paradise Island are also benefiting from the adoption of upscale brands like the all-inclusive adult only Warrick brand, RIU and the Four Seasons, which was contracted for the management of the Ocean Club. These brands continually go under extensive refurbishments to reinvigorate their product as they continuously seek to attract and retain guests.”
Ms. Jibrilu said The Islands of The Bahamas must determine what success should look like in the tourism industry.
“We must focus on seeking solutions to the problems that undermine our performance and militate what our strengths are – beauty, creativity, friendliness and industry experience,” she said.
Director General Jibrilu said ultimately, The Bahamas has the potential to be a world-class destination that can rival any tourism destination in the world.
“However, we need to further develop our product quality and better showcase it’s uniqueness, further develop our human resources and improve our service levels; invest in our Bahamian entrepreneurs and enterprises and apply high standards across the board and employ problem solving and deliberate strategies to achieve these goals,” she said.
© Copyright 2018 by thebahamasweekly.com
Top of Page