The Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism brought remarks to over 100 tourism stakeholders who participated in the virtual meeting; and commended Carlton Russell for his leadership and partnership during the past several years.
Presenters from The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT); The Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board (NPIPB), The Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board (BOIPB), The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB); The Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) and Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) painted a realistic, yet optimistic picture about the tourism industry in The Bahamas and spoke to the myriad of initiatives and strategies deployed in earnest to re-establish the tourism economy for the destination.
Outgoing President Russell, who would continue to serve the BHTA as Immediate Past President, noted the slogan Build Back Better; coined after the devastating impact of Hurricane in Dorian “continued to be applicable, though in an entirely different context and due to an entirely different cause”
“We will rely on the same qualities; Resilience, Tenacity, Pride and Perseverance” stated Russell in his farewell speech. “We will utilize the natural beauty that has been bestowed upon The Bahamas; our culture, our history, our people, our proximity; we will harness all that has kept us in the running as a top tourism destination to build our tourism industry back.”
Mr. Russell, on behalf of the BHTA, committed to continue to work with tourism partners; “to deliver value for money like we never have before, to exceed guest expectation, because we know what guests have been through to get to us and we know what we have been through to get to them”.
The Most Honourable Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas provided a prerecorded message of thanks and spoke of undertakings such as Bahamas Clear; and the upcoming Digital Immigration Card, which had been approved by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director of Immigration. The Prime Minster indicated this initiative would not only digitize the immigration card, it inspired “a series of new business strategies” which would “transform the entire process” and “unleash customer propositions not ever possible before the arrival of digital technology”.
The BHTA 68th Annual General Meeting ended with the announcement of the new Officers and Board of Directors of The BHTA who would serve in their respective roles for the 2020 – 2022 term.
It was announced Mr. Robert “Sandy” Sands would replace Carlton Russell as President of The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association. Sands, a seasoned hotelier, and senior executive with Baha Mar has had significant experience in this role, as he had served as President of the BHTA three times over the last 3 decades; in 1990, 1995 and 2009. Mr. Jackson Weech, a senior executive at Atlantis, Paradise Island, and newcomer to the prestigious slate of Officers, would serve as Senior Vice President. Mr. Jamal Glover, General Manager of Bayview Suites, would continue to serve as Treasurer; a philanthropic position he has held since 2016, making him the longest serving treasurer of the BHTA.