By Scieska Adderley
NASSAU, Bahamas -- In an effort to diversify the tourism product, the government of The Bahamas is seeking to forge regional partnerships that would drive more airlift to the country.
Shortly after addressing the opening of a small island developing states (SIDS) conference, Prime Minister Perry Christie told reporters that he and Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe plan to meet key stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago to see if any relationships can be formed between Bahamasair and Caribbean Airlines.
“While promoting The Bahamas, we are also meeting our obligation to support regional efforts; for example, when someone says I live in the Dominican Republic and for me to come to The Bahamas I have to go via Miami when we’re only an hour and 10 minutes away from each other. When you consider scenarios like that, things have to change. So I am hoping to begin talks with representatives soon to see what we can arrange,” he said.
Recognizing that there are more than one billion travelers coming in and out of the region annually, Wilchcombe said the key to The Bahamas having success as a tourism-based destination will be through more connectivity, which must include active participation from Bahamasair.
“We must be thinking about our national flag carrier. It’s time for Bahamasair to be a part of tourism. It must help us open up more gates,” he explained.
“Well that’s what we’re doing now. First and foremost, how do we cause for airlift? And that is why we have to think about our national flag carrier. How do we ensure that Bahamasair is a participant in what we do? That’s one thing. Then you have to have inventory. You always have to renew the inventory. Inventory is fundamental, just like how we’re seeing at Baha Mar now; that was Atlantis back in the 1990s.”
Under the theme “Tourism as a Key Sector for Development in Island States”, the two-day conference was taking place in Nassau and was hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The conference was due to end on Thursday afternoon.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian