Bahamas Tourism More Than Hotel Industry

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BAHAMIAN tourism can no longer be solely focused on the hotel industry, the Minster of Tourism said yesterday, insisting that other products such as pleasure yachting and cruising need to be developed and grown.

Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, speaking at the Marina Operators of the Bahamas (MOB) workshop, said the tourism industry of the Bahamas has to been seen as much more than simply hotels.

"We cannot have the tourism sector being focused on as if the hotels are the be all and end all of what it is all about," he said. "They come for other purposes, and if those purposes aren't working very well and succeeding very well, you won't get the room rates you want."

According to Mr Vanderpool-Wallace, even the Bahamas Hotel Association's name should be changed to the Bahamas Hospitality Association to reflect the range of tourism products offered in the Bahamas.

He argued that the MOB, though a fledgling association, has affected and directed policy changes, and is exactly what this country needs to help innovate and expand important aspects of the Bahamas, such as pleasure yachting.

"We encourage the development and creation of groups of people who have a common interest," he said.

Mr Vanderpool-Wallace added that it was important for the Ministry to enable programmes that drive the tourism industry forward and disable the ones that act against it.

He restated one of his popular maxims, lauding this country as having the most potential in the region to provide diverse tourism products.

However, he lamented that "what we have done so far is nothing".

He told MOB members that the Bahamas could become the boating capital of the world with their help, adding that 1.6 per cent of the boating population of the US resides in Florida, and that is a "godsend".

"What we want to do is have our proximity reflected in the ease and cost of travel for boaters," said Mr Vanderpool-Wallace.

Source: The Tribune