Categorized | National News

Out Island Promotions Board Gets Millions For Marketing

Millions of dollars are being earmarked for the Bahamas Out Island Promotions Board (BOIPB) – which as its name suggests – is responsible for promoting, through strategic marketing all the Family Islands.

The money is a whole lot more than the drop in the bucket that the government claims the organisation has been getting for the last five years.

While he could not give a specific figure, the country’s point man on tourism has promised to substantially increase the stipend the BOIPB currently gets from his ministry in the upcoming fiscal budget period.

That stipend will increase from $750,000 to somewhere in the millions.

“How are we going to get the message out about the islands if we are not telling the story?” asked Minister of Tourism Obediah Wilchcombe.

The truth is, he said, is that some of the islands are not know, but the islands is where the greatest treasurers lie.

“But we are not telling the story. And so we are going to put more money into marketing the islands and more assistance in helping them [the BOIPB] to market the islands,” he said.

“If they can’t market the islands effectively then we are going to force more Bahamians to leave those islands, come to Nassau and put more pressure on Nassau. That’s the problem now. And then the unemployment numbers will continue to grow. What we have to do is create sustainability in the islands. And by doing that it will help our country to grow.”

And while promoting the out islands is a great priority for the ministry, equally as important is a shift in human resources. The idea is to bring in more young professionals to help market the country.

“We are going to be employing more internet technology,” the tourism minister said. “We will spend a lot of time with digital marketing. And employing more young people will serve as a generational shift.”

No one currently employed by the ministry will lose their jobs in the process, Mr. Wilchcombe assured.

“We are going to be using all of our staff and many who have been around for a very long time, but I know that many will also leave the ministry because that’s just the way it is. But the truth is we want to have the best players in the ministry. There is no victimisation at all. I believe that in our country we have the best and the brightest and the job just needs to get done,” he said.

And according to Minister Wilchcombe, the number one industry has been losing ground for the last five years, prompting now more than ever the need for the country to employ a greater strategic plan.

“How did we lose ground to countries like Jamaica, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Cuba and the Dominican Republic? We lost ground because we were and are still not keeping up with what is happening around the world,” he said.

“We are not delivering what we ought to be delivering. We are not talking to the people we ought to be talking to. Who’s talking to the people on the social networks? I’m not talking about the 5,000 friends you may have or I may have, or the ministry may have. I’m talking about who’s talking to the 500,000 or the half of billion people, that’s what I’m talking about.

He continued, “I am talking about how we are going to reach those people and how we will ensure that we have a nerve centre where we have people tweeting every minute and sending information to Facebook marketing this country.”

Strategic Plan

The strategy now is to begin developing a greater brand for each island of the Bahamas, adding to other branding initiatives left in place by the previous administration.

“Unless you fix that then you are not going to market your country properly. What we have to do is understand branding. If you look at the United States of America, you will see ads about Florida, but then you’ll also see ads about Miami or Orlando.

“But isn’t that all Florida? But they are marketing their various places because they all have different offerings. Well what’s the difference in The Bahamas? We have to do the same thing. The way we will do it differently is by taking advantage of internet technology. The world is flat and we now have an opportunity to take advantage of something we have not taken advantage of.”

Minister Wilchcombe says branding strategies and initiatives already in place will remain and more focus will be placed on tapping into new and emerging markets.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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