Hotels Chief Backs Government Push For Bahamian Ownership

The Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) has welcomed the Government's "added thrust" to support local hoteliers and more Bahamian investment in the industry, following its announcement of plans to create more opportunities for Bahamians to own hotels via a national resort development initiative.

BHA president Stuart Bowe said: "We welcome the added thrust to support Bahamian hoteliers, and the efforts to encourage more Bahamian investment in the industry.

"There is valuable data to share from the work that BHA, the Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board have researched and developed on small hotels over the years. Small hotels face unique challenges in marketing, sustaining year-round business, management and financing, hence the need to work together with the Ministry and industry organisations to improve their chances for success."

Mr Bowe added: "Initiatives such as the small business development program advanced by the Chamber of Commerce; the Ministry of Tourism's online booking solution; the Bank of the Bahamas' soon-to-be-launched e-commerce platform; and the BHA's partnership with industry and allied members providing small hotels with purchasing power and easier access to critical services, can help to make a huge difference. They key is partnership. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Tourism and supporting organsiations."

Mr Bowe said research completed by the BHA in 2007 showed that of 169 small hotels surveyed on eight islands, 75 per cent of them were owned and operated by Bahamians.

Most of the licensed small hotels throughout the Bahamas, with fewer than 50 rooms, are owned by Bahamians. According to the Ministry of Tourism's Hotel Licensing Department, 254 of the nation's 285 licensed hotels are classified as small.

Natario McKenzie
The Tribune
Published: May 31, 2012