Tourism Officials Hope Miss Universe Will Boost Grand Bahama Tourism

Tourism officials in Grand Bahama are hoping that a number of initiatives launched on the island, including the hosting of several segments of the Miss Universe Pageant in August, will help to boost tourism numbers and thus the ailing economy.

Addressing the Rotary Club of Lucaya on Tuesday, Betty Bethel, General Manager of Business Development at the Ministry of Tourism said the Miss Universe Pageant committee will host 88 beauties from all over the world in the Bahamas, and because it is being carried by more than 170 countries, the pageant will give Grand Bahama the exposure that it needs.

The Ministry of Tourism is presently working on hosting the swimsuit competition of the upcoming pageant.

Bethel said the 88 beauty queens would tour many unique spots on Grand Bahama including the Garden of the Groves. In addition, the reigning Miss Universe will have footage shot of her final walk.

"We will receive worldwide exposure as the coverage of Miss Universe reaches many countries and the following from fans, staff, crew and different families who will follow this pageant will be enormous," she said.

Bethel, who has served in the tourism industry for more than 20 years, said however, that despite the fact that Grand Bahama receives 80 percent of its arrivals from the United States, until that country's economy turns around, the island would continue to see fewer arrivals just like every other destination.

Nevertheless, Bethel said that the attention would now be shifted to those who can still afford to travel.

"The focus has to now be on what we do once we get the business and how to keep it."

In making all of the initiatives a success, Bethel said that product creation and upgrades are important to remain competitive in the industry.

As the tourism industry is experiencing some "down time," Bethel said that more attention must be given to the product and what can be done to improve it.

"We are always cognizant of the environment that we do business in, especially now. We will always have to aspire to be better than the rest by upgrading, refining and creating new products," Bethel said.

Bethel also suggested that product development team is busy ensuring that everything and everyone that the visitors come into contact creates a "wow" experience.

Bethel said that it is not all about what the ministry does to make it better, but "tourism is everybody's business."

In addition to the upcoming pageant, Ms. Bethel said that the Junkanoo Summer Festival, which was relocated to Taino Beach to enhance the visitor experience, would continue until the end of July.

The festival is another way that the Ministry is trying to showcase the Bahamian culture and talent to visitors and residents alike, she said.

She noted that each week there are 200 visitors at the festival who return satisfied and are able to share their experiences instantaneously through the power of technology.

"They are able to go on Twitter and Facebook, other social networks and old-fashioned e-mail to talk about their experiences which also helps us in advertising what Grand Bahama has to offer," Bethel said.

The recent launch of Club Grand Bahama was another step taken by the Ministry to revamp and revive the island's tourism sector.

Ms. Bethel said this was the first move in the creation of Club Bahama, which will offer the benefits of an all inclusive vacation spot.

"Grand Bahama guests are able to select accommodations at one of five resorts, and are greeted with round-trip airport or harbour transfers to the hotel or resort of their choice."

Bethel noted that the package also includes shuttle bus service connecting the guests to 50 sports and recreational activities where guests are also able to choose from up to 21 dining venues for breakfast and dinner each day of their stay.

Source: The Bahama Journal
Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2009 06:08