Separate Tourism Branding For Abaco

Print

Marsh Harbour, Abaco - Abaco will be marketed as its own destination within the Bahamas just as Nassau/Paradise Island has been for decades, the minister of tourism and aviation said, with Marsh Harbour to receive a new airport runway by next month and 14 American Airlines flights per week.


Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace could not say when construction of the new Marsh Harbour Airport terminal will begin, but revealed that plans for the building are almost complete.

Speaking at the sixth annual Abaco Business Outlook conference, Mr Vanderpool-Wallace said it was time that Abaco, which has the fastest growing economy and largest marina industry in the Bahamas, had its own marketing identity instead of being grouped within the "Islands of the Bahamas".

"We have to move Abaco out of the shadow of Nassau and Paradise Island," he said.

The minister said the Bahamas' promotional neglect of the Family Islands was comparable to Jamaica only selling Kingston in its promotional material.

He argued that just as Jamaica has successfully developed other areas of its island into tourism meccas, so can the Bahamas.

As American Airlines arrivals are increased, the Ministry of Tourism is focusing on creating a dedicated Abaco logo for promotional purposes.

Essentially, according to Mr Vanderpool- Wallace, Abaco will be sold separately in the future, much like Nassau/Paradise Island and Freeport, Grand Bahama, have been.

However, the island remains without suitable infrastructure for its rapidly-growing economy.

BEC is working to increase power output on the island, but its Wilson City project was recently set back because of the need to obtain construction permits.

Mr Vanderpool Wallace said Abaco's economy had seen a 27 per cent visitor arrivals decline since the start of the recession, while Freeport saw a 35 per cent decline and Nassau an 8.8 per cent decline.

Administrator for Central Abaco, Cephas Cooper, said Abaco's economy has seen growth on average of 32 per cent in tourist arrivals since the 1960s. He said that despite the economic downturn "the future of Abaco still looks very bright".

Mr Cooper said the island, with a population of about 14,000 across several towns along 120 miles of land, has been experiencing rush hour traffic recently - a testament to its growth.

Mr Vanderpool-Wallace restated his consternation at the price of airlift into Abaco, but contended that the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is working to have airlines lower their costs.

He asserted that a flight to Abaco from New York was more expensive than a New York to London flight. And Abaconians lament that the once per week American Airlines flight to Miami is more expensive than flying to Nassau, then taking a second flight out to Miami.

According to Mr Vanderpool-Wallace, the Bahamas is a high cost destination due to high labour costs and high energy costs. He said this country has to find out how to compete in this region with those factors in mind.

"We cannot compete with other destinations on the basis of cost," he said. "We have to find out how to compete."

 

 Source: The Tribune

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 08:23