NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Four years after the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian, Abaco is rapidly emerging as a thriving hub of economic activity, with businesses now being encouraged to capitalize on the boom by providing key services.
One notable area brimming with opportunities for investment lies in the demand for additional housing and accommodations, according to Daphne DeGregory Miaoulis, president of the Abaco Chamber of Commerce.
“There are not enough rooms. Abaco is overflowing with business. Abaco is a hotspot and people want to come here,” says DeGregory Miaoulis.
“We need more businesses to come in and offer services. We had hoped that more of our Bahamian-owned mega enterprises out of New Providence would see this as an opportunity to invest in Abaco, which is going to be the next second city very soon.”
Mrs DeGregory-Miaoulis made the comments during the latest episode of You and Your Money, outlining the numerous economic opportunities available in the Abacos. She will be a presenter at the upcoming 19th Abaco Business Outlook set for Thursday September 21, 2023 at the Abaco Beach Resort, where she and other stakeholders will discuss various opportunities available on Abaco.
According to DeGregory-Miaoulis, the event tourism segment has provided the Abaco community with tremendous economic benefits and business opportunities.
“The festivals have been excellent revenue generators for the cays, particularly Hope Town with music festivals. Abaco in the past has not really been a music festival destination; Hope Town developed that market.
“The mainland of Abaco and the other cays have been more geared towards families, eco and agro-tourism. Those are areas that I certainly think are wide open for investment. The local farmer’s markets have been great. Some farmers have started farm tours and petting zoos for example.
“Abaco is such an amazing destination for people who love nature and perhaps want to get away from the noise of the city. I think there is lots of room for well-trained tour operators on the island,” De Gregory-Miaoulis said.
Roscoe Thompson, head of the Marsh Harbour/Spring City Township, says that events such as the regattas and music festivals have provided significant economic benefits for Abaco, with further opportunities available to attract more visitors through partnerships between local businesses and key stakeholders.
“I believe in our slower tourism months the resorts, the airbnb and car rental businesses can all team up with Bahamasair, combining their services and maybe offering packages,” says Thompson.
Thompson noted that since Hurricane Dorian, a number of local businesses have bounced back and new businesses have emerged to service the Abaco community.
According to DeGregory-Miaoulis, there is a deficit of skilled labor in Abaco post-Hurricane Dorian, with the relocation of a considerable number of Abaconians after the storm having contributed to the issue.
“We need more Abaconians to come back to Abaco and not to the Abaco of the past but to the Abaco of the future with the new opportunities that are being presented,” said DeGregory-Miaoulis. “We need more skilled labour so we can provide the quality of service we need and not just in construction.”
Nevertheless, she believes Abaco’s future shines bright with exciting business prospects and attractive investment opportunities.