Tact And Strategy Needed Over Tourism Promotion


The Bahamas must "tactfully and strategically" promote it is open for business ahead of the all-important winter tourism season's November start, a top hotelier says.

Robert Sands, Baha Mar's senior vice-president of government and external affairs, backed the strategy set by Dionisio D'Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation, and his ministry in a bid to "arrest the double digit booking fall" caused by Hurricane Dorian's fall-out.

Mr Sands told Tribune Business: "The strategy is certainly the right one; the best way to make reservations and support touristic properties in the islands that have not have been affected by Dorian. Principally the message is that The Bahamas is an archipelagic country with many islands from north to south, and 14 other main islands are still available.


"Individual brands are doing the same thing, other hotels are doing the same thing, and the Bahamian population in general is doing the same thing on social media and where they can. He [Mr D'Aguilar] is not alone in his efforts even though he is in the lead."

Mr Sands warned, however, that "the messaging has to be done tactfully and strategically. The winter season is coming upon us, and so we look for efforts to be ramped up when it's time".

When asked if he felt this was enough right now, Sands said that: "The first strategy is social media, but that cannot be the only strategy. Later on in the fourth quarter of this year we will hopefully see more in other areas of the media when preparation for the winter season is upon us. We have to reassure the world that The Bahamas is still open for business."

Mr Sands also blamed what he described as a general "lack of geography and knowledge" on The Bahamas among many persons for misleading them into thinking that Dorian has destroyed the entire country.

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), in a statement, confirmed that the pace of forward bookings has softened, "in some cases significantly, when compared to bookings for the same period last year".

It blamed several factors, including Dorian's impact on Grand Bahama and Abaco, the subsequent widespread coverage of the storm and lack of understanding of The Bahamas' geography for causing "a marked impact on business, which is unfortunate but not unanticipated".

"Tourism stakeholders, in communication with the BHTA, stress the need to ensure internal and external communicators - including international media, press, social media platforms, influencers, newspaper outlets - have access to and relay accurate information about the impact of Hurricane Dorian on The Bahamas, including the specificity of the areas affected," the BHTA said.

"It is vital that the world market understand The Bahamas, which is an archipelago comprised of over 700 islands spread over 100,000 square miles of ocean, remains largely untouched by the passing of Hurricane Dorian.

"The road to recovery for areas affected in Abaco and Grand Bahama is being paved thanks to the vast influx of support from both international and local sources. The next phase is the rebuild, recovery and restoration of the affected islands."

"It is imperative the cogs of our tourism engine keep turning at its regular rapid pace," said Carlton Russell, BHTA president.

"Public and private sector tourism stakeholders, including The Ministry of Tourism, promotion board partners such as The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association are aligned in our messaging to the world: The influx of tourism dollars is the best form of aid and relief anyone can offer the people of The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

"Come to our shores to enjoy the beauty of our islands, the warmth of our people, the flavour of our food and drink, our unique culture, customs, music and art. By doing so you are helping us to help ourselves."

The Tribune
September 30, 2019


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2019 09:31