Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis called on the region to broaden its Caribbean brand in tourism and recreate a new direction forward.
He was delivering the keynote address at the State of Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) 2018 on Tuesday evening in the Grand Ballroom of Atlantis, Paradise Island.
The week-long conference explores possibilities and opportunities under the theme: “Rejuvenate. Recreate. Reconnect. New Directions for Caribbean Tourism.”
“Our region must be known for extraordinary visitor experiences and services. We must also be known as a global centre of excellence for all aspects of tourism development,” Dr. Minnis said.
He noted that in so many ways, the potential of the region is untapped.
“We are meeting here today in the name of one of the world’s most powerful brands: the Caribbean — which some have called the “Paradise of the Atlantic,” the prime minister said.
He added, that no matter where you are in the world and no matter which language you speak and however you pronounce the word ‘Caribbean,’ it conjures delight and awe.
“Our brilliant constellation of people, food, drink, music, multiple international and indigenous languages, culture and natural delights in such a relatively small region is unmatched,” he said.
According to the Prime Minister, the world is increasingly recognizing the breadth of history and culture of what the late Caribbean Nobel Prize Laureate Derek Walcott described as “the fragments of epic memory,” which constitute the Caribbean experience.
In this vein, he said he was especially pleased that a compelling feature of the visitor experience at Baha Mar and Atlantis is Bahamian culture, inclusive of the visual, musical and culinary arts of The Bahamas.
He described the Caribbean as an archipelago of discovery and wonder, bound together by geography, history and culture.
“We are an archipelago of possibility. We are an archipelago of opportunity. We are an archipelago of resilience.
“We resonate with the rhythms of Calypso, Reggae, Soca, Junkanoo, Punta Rock, Reggaeton and other genres, which are all part of the pulsating heartbeat of a Caribbean Civilization that is unique among the civilizations of the world.
“It is this very Caribbean Civilization that we proudly offer to the world as we strive to become a global leader in tourism on multiple fronts. We must broaden our Caribbean brand in tourism,” he said.
The prime minister also noted that one of the core objectives must be to help to create greater economic benefits from tourism for micro- small- and medium-sized businesses.
“This means greater diversification across various tourism platforms as well as greater linkages with other economic sectors,” he added.
Dr. Minnis said that the region is still working to develop and upgrade the museums and heritage sites that depict the traditions and culture of our people, as well as showcase, in a sustainable manner, the wonders of marine life that highlight the earth’s biodiversity.
“The training and education of a new generation of entrepreneurs is vital in helping our citizens and economies to garner greater economic benefits from tourism,” he said.
The prime minister thanked Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar for his guidance of CTO matters over the past year and a half. And, he thanked Director General Joy Jibrilu, for her steady hand and guidance over the past several years.
This article was written by LINDSAY THOMPSON, Bahamas Information Services.