Categorized | National News

GB A Priority, Says Tourism Minister

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said his ministry is making it a priority to lure foreign direct investment to Grand Bahama to boost economic activity.

It’s a known fact that Grand Bahama’s economy had been in the slump long before the rest of the country.

But in an effort to change that dismal picture, officials recently opened the Blue Marlin Cove, a boutique hotel.

The $12 million resort includes some 60 hotel suite rooms, a restaurant, recreation centre, health and beauty spa, conference space and the existing 18-slip dock and marina.

But the minister said that’s not all what’s in store for Grand Bahama.

“Grand Bahama is a priority. The unemployment numbers have been 15 to 16 per cent and so you have thousands of people that are unemployed and you have about 12 per cent of people who are just discouraged,” he said in a recent interview with the Bahama Journal.

“So our job is to create some economic activity and we are going to focus on tourism as a priority. We are working on more airlift and opening new and old hotels in Grand Bahama. That’s in play and the prime minister will soon make some announcements.”

Recently, officials revealed that airlift in The Bahamas – mainly New Providence – are up by some eight per cent.

Minister Wilchcombe said he is optimistic that that can be duplicated in Grand Bahama.

“The truth is Grand Bahama lost a lot of airlift because airlines pulled out of Grand Bahama,” he said.

“For instance, you can’t catch a flight from Miami to Freeport even with Bahamasair. So we are fixing all of that and we are sitting down and talking to other airlines. Here in Nassau we are getting more airlifts coming in from South America. We are working on more airlines on top of COPA airlines to ensure that we are able to build a hub.”

He continued, “We are trying to get some direct flights from Venezuela, Columbia and Brazil because those markets are strong. And because they are strong and because the world has shifted this way, we want to take advantage of it.”

Minister Wilchcombe said The Bahamas has an advantage over the US because residents in Latin America don’t need a visa to travel here.

“So we are a destination of choice. We just have to make sure that at all times our product is of the quality.”

Both New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced a decline in the unemployment rate.

According to the latest employment figures, New Providence’s rate slightly dipped from 15.1 per cent to 14 per cent and Grand Bahama’s rate decreased from 21.2 per cent to 17.3 per cent.

Written by Jones Bahamas

One Response to “GB A Priority, Says Tourism Minister”

  1. Lisa says:

    “The truth is Grand Bahama lost a lot of airlift because airlines pulled out of Grand Bahama”

    Did it ever dawn on you that the airlines pulled out as there is nothing on the island for tourists to do thus no one wants to go there. Run down properties and closed (Royal Oasis/Towers/Bazaar. Resorts closed, Reef Village, Lucayan Beach, Port Lucaya Resort, Xanadu. No entertainment, crmie on the rise, taxes to darn high. Need I say more?


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