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Minister Underscores Airlift Problems For Southern Islands

The uptick in tourism numbers not reflected in how things shaped up in the southern islands, and Minister of Tourism, Dionsio D’Aguilar, is blaming that on a lift problem.

Airlines he said, want to see demand before they can put on the lift.

“We have to create something that’s going to move the airlines to want to put on the additional lift,” he said.

“Now  you could say throw on the planes, but if the planes are going empty then that’s not accomplishing the purpose. 

“Then you have to market these by in large smaller lodges, and that is always a challenge and you know how to solve that problem is indeed vexing,” said the Minister.

As for cruise ships, most family islands are included on  a 3-4 day voyage.

The problem is – the further you go down the chain, the more unattractive it reportedly becomes.

“The cruise companies love private islands, they would love to develop more and none of them that I’m aware of, have come to us and say hey we’re interested in your southern islands.

“They’re always looking at the Bimini’s, the Berry’s, New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, that’s what they’re interested in. 

“I’m sure we have pointed out to them, and I’m sure they’re aware of those islands, but for whatever reason they ain’t there yet.

“So it may get there as options in the northern Bahamas fall away and now they’re looking to further move down but they’re not there yet,” the Minister said.

When asked if there was a strategy to make it more compelling for cruise lines and visitors to want to visit the southern islands, Minister D’Aguilar said, “ it can’t get more attractive than what it already is.

“We  almost give you the land, you don’t pay any import taxes on anything that you build, you don’t pay any VAT, you pay no duty, you bring your people off the boat, you employ some local people,” he said.

“It  is extremely attractive based on the constructs of the past, I don’t necessarily agree with some of those constructs and how one sided they were, but those were the constructs that were available in the past.  

“We gave everything to the cruise companies. There wasn’t anything they couldn’t get, the got acres of land, use of land for dollar a year,” he added.

Minister D’Aguilar’s comments came  as a guest on the weekly talk show, Jones and Company. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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