PM: Bahamians need to lead in tourism industry, not just participate

PM: Bahamians need to lead in tourism industry, not just participate

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday underscored the need for Bahamians to transition from mere participation in the country’s tourism sector to actively leading it, noting that beyond job opportunities, this involves fostering ownership and assuming leadership roles in the industry.

“It’s time for Bahamians to not just participate in tourism but to lead it,” Davis declared while addressing tourism stakeholders at the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s annual general meeting yesterday.

“We are not just talking about jobs here; we are talking about ownership, leadership, and a stake in the heart of our nation’s most lucrative industry. The advancement of Bahamians into senior roles in tourism is not a favor; it’s a necessity for sustainable growth and true empowerment.”

Davis applauded industry stakeholders for their part in helping the country hit a record eight million visitors this year while noting that the growth in tourism numbers must translate into tangible benefits for every Bahamian. 

“This involves deepening linkages between tourism and local industries, fostering a symbiotic relationship that supports local businesses and entrepreneurs. Diversification is not just a buzzword; it’s a crucial strategy for resilience. We aim to explore new markets, innovate our offerings, and create a dynamic and resilient economy that does not rely solely on one sector.

“As we embrace this new paradigm, it’s crucial to address the need for tailored experiences that integrate our historic areas and communities. Our tourism product cannot solely rely on the allure of five-star properties where tourists remain within their confines. We must create avenues for tourism dollars to flow deeper into our economy, reaching every Bahamian,” said Davis.

Davis noted that his administration is scrutinizing the concessions it grants, noting that every decision and incentive must align with the government’s economic goals. 

“We are committed to policing our Heads of Agreement diligently. It’s time to delve into our numbers, to ask critical questions: Where is the money going? How much are we truly earning? This is the question I leave with you, leaders of our tourism industry.

“As we embrace this transformative journey, let’s ensure that every decision, and every strategy, contributes to the economic well-being of the Bahamas and its people. The future of Bahamian tourism and, by extension, the Bahamian economy, rests in our hands,” said Davis.