NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The time has come for hotels and promotion boards to assume primary responsibility for marketing the destination, a former senior government policy adviser has suggested.
Sir Baltron Bethel, a former senior policy adviser in the last Christie administration and the country’s first Bahamian director general of tourism, suggested that the Ministry of Tourism no longer expend millions annually marketing the destination but rather that responsibility lie primarily with the hotels and promotion boards.
He was speaking at the Financial Voice forum.
Sir Baltron said: “In light of the current prevailing circumstances, the time has come when private sector bodies like hotels and promotion boards assume primary responsibility for marketing using levies now collected and he Ministry of Tourism should focus on tourism policy, public relations, product enhancement, licensing, quality control as well as tourism and environmental development.”
He also suggested that consideration be given to the imposition of an environmental levy for cruise passengers.
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, principal of the Bedford Baker Group and another former Tourism Director General argued that tourism stakeholders should work to ensure that they secure payments for tourism products before they arrive in the country.
“There are so many payments made for tourism products that never arrive in The Bahamas. We need to get a lot more people to buy a lot more products before they get here. If they purchase something in advance they will go out and use it and spend on transportation,” said Vanderpool-Wallace.
Vanderpool-Wallace also urged greater usage of local fruits and fish in the country’s tourism offerings.
“Why are we still importing so much that our visitors consume as opposed growing it or taking it out of our waters. The notion that we import fish to the degree we do is a national disgrace,” he added.