New Terminal To Have 'Immediate Impact' On Tourism

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THE opening of the new US departures terminal at the redeveloped Lynden Pindling Airport will have an "immediate impact" on the growth and development of the tourism industry, said Robert Sands, former president of the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and senior vice president of administration and external affairs at Baha Mar.

"From Baha Mar's perspective we congratulate the Nassau Airport Development (NAD) for the fabulous US departures terminal. We believe it will certainly go a long way in the visitor experience. It will complement the product improvements happening in the country with Kerzner, Baha Mar, the Corridor 7 road linking Thompson Boulevard to the rerouted West Bay Street" said Mr Sands.

Baha Mar, the BHA and Kerzner International have jointly lobbied the government on the issue of the airport over the years. The industry groups share the view that a state of the art airport is an "important ingredient" for tourism success.

One of the airport's notable critics has been Sol Kerzner, chief executive officer of Kerzner International. During the launch of phase three of the Atlantis Resort he called the airport one of the world's worst and said it was totally out of step with the top-end nature of the Bahamian tourism product.

The official opening ceremony of the LPIA redevelopment phase one was held on Friday. The estimated cost of phase one was $190.8million. Phases two and three have already received Cabinet approval. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham estimated their cost at $138.3million and $71.98million, respectively.

"Infrastructurally the Bahamas is transforming itself; repositioning itself to take advantage of tourism in the future. I think it augurs well. It was a job well done. A first class facility and all Bahamians can be very proud," said Mr Sands.

"I think it will make an immediate impact. You certainly had a facility that was highly criticised. You now have one that is totally transformed, in this phase. As we complete additional phases it will only enhance the reputation of the Bahamas as a serious player in tourism industry in this hemisphere," he said.

Source: The Tribune