Categorized | Business, National News

MOT Expands Tourism Market

In an effort to boost tourism numbers, the Ministry of Tourism is on a mission to expand its target audience as it seeks to tap into the religious tourism market which is reportedly worth billions of dollars.

Director of Religious Tourism Dwight Armbrister said that the ministry is targeting the United States and based on its 2011 survey, 7.8 per cent of Americans travel for religious purposes.

That percentage represents some 5.3 million people and he said the ministry intends to attract a significant number of those travellers to The Bahamas.

“Our proximity to the United States, we’re just a hop scotch jump away from these particular markets that we’re concentrating in and certainly the rooms that we have coming on now with Baha Mar and Atlantis we have the meeting spaces here that they would desire to have,” he said.

“If you’re going for large events such as gospel concerts we have the newly built sports center over here so it’s to our responsibility to really find the events, get the conferences to come here, giving them the necessary incentives that would cause them to choose The Bahamas.”

Most recent statistics reveal that 79.5 per cent of people in the United States are Christian and that is well over 246 million people.

So far members of the religious department have been on the ground selling The Bahamas to large groups such as the National Baptist Convention USA, Bobby Jones Gospel Retreat, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Rainbow Push Coalition with Rev Jesse Jackson among others.

Mr. Armbrister revealed that one of the fastest growing faith-based television networks, Impact Network which has a viewing audience of some 30 plus million people are on board with bringing their international conference to The Bahamas..

“Impact Network, when we launched for them last year in November they turned right around and booked their conference to come here, we’re talking about 2,500 persons coming here for an average room stay of four days so when you equate that and put that into dollar value you’re looking at an excess of over a million dollars that they will be spending here, when you do the drill down of them going into the communities and shopping centres certainly the spin-off will be great also.”
Overall, Mr. Armbrister added that the religious department is focused on filling about 31,000 rooms by December of this year, thereby attracting 8,000 religious travellers.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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