NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Parliament yesterday suspended debate on the Tourism Development Corporation Bill 2023 as an association representing vacation rental owners in the country is seeking to offer its recommendations to the legislation which it says lacked industry consultation.
Parliamentarians were set to debate the legislation yesterday. Theofanis Cochinamogulos, Interim President of The Bahamas vacation Rentals Association in a letter to House Speaker Patricia Deveaux said that the association hopes to collaborate with the government, the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Development Corporation “on providing a quality experience for visitors to The Bahamas.”
According to Cochinamogulos, the Bill “lacks the support” of the hundreds of vacation rental hosts as there was no consultation with them and the Bill was not gazetted. According to Cochinamogulos, there are sections in the Bill “that will result in rooms being pulled off the market at a time when there is a shortage of rooms for tourists visiting our country.”
Cochinamohulos informed the media yesterday that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments Chester Copper, has indicated has agreed to hear the association’s concerns.
The Tourism Development Corporation of The Bahamas Bill which was tabled in Parliament earlier this month seeks to establish the Tourism Development Corporation as the primary entity concerned with resilient and sustainable tourism development in The Bahamas and establish a tourism development fund.
The fund would receive monies from parliamentary allocations, fees, monies charged on tourism activities and services in respect to the act, income from investments of the corporation, grants, donations, bequests or gifts, and contributions from certain tourism-related enterprises.
The legislation also provides for the creation of a register of tourism-related enterprises and for the corporation to grant its seal of approval to registered tourism-related enterprises, where it is satisfied that the owner is a fit and proper person and the enterprise meets the guidelines imposed by the corporation,
The legislation also provides for the issuance of guidelines for standards and best practices with respect to tourism-related enterprises and products to protect the integrity of The Bahamas as a tourism destination.