Key tourism stakeholders have been meeting with professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to help define what the prime minister has described as a plan to “overhaul” how this country promotes and develops its tourism product, in light of “changing dynamics” in the industry.
Addressing Parliament, Prime Minister Perry Christie said that the government has commissioned a study by the firm in consultation with public and private sector stakeholders in the tourism industry to examine how the country can best develop the tourism industry in the coming years.
He suggested the current model has become outdated in today’s industry environment.
“The Bahamas has served as a model in the Caribbean region of cooperation and partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, funded by the government, and private sector promotion boards funded by resort levies collected from hotel guests, in supporting marketing, promotions and airlift.
“While this model has served us well over time, with the present realities and the ever-changing dynamics of the tourism industry, it needs to be overhauled to embrace greater opportunities and yield better results both for businesses and for the public good,” said Christie.
The prime minister said that the study will look at successful models in major tourism destinations.
“A study is therefore now well-advanced by PricewaterhouseCoopers in consultation with the public and private sector stakeholders, to recommend the pooling of financial and human resources in a more effective, efficient and collaborative process under an amalgamated entity which would take over these functions. The new entity would be governed by a board of directors nominated by the government and the private sector... We expect to complete this exercise and implement the study recommendations in a timely manner,” he added.
In a statement released to Guardian Business on the comments made by Christie, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) said that it, along with the private sector promotion boards, are “well-engaged” in the review process presently being undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“We have met with the consultants and provided detailed data and advice as to how a new collaborative effort between the public and private sectors could be structured to pull our resources and expertise in addressing our marketing and airlift needs,” said BHTA President Stuart Bowe.
“We look forward to a constructive dialogue amongst all stakeholders in the near future as we review the results and together decide on a new course of action for the betterment of our industry and The Bahamas’ reputation as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations.”
Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice-president of administration and external Affairs, said that Baha Mar representatives met with PWC staff earlier this week to “discuss the concept outlined in the prime minister’s presentation”.
“Baha Mar shared with the consultants its view on the future of public/private sector cooperation as it relates to sales, marketing and product improvement in the tourism sector. The meeting was mutually beneficial to all parties,” said Sands.
The Nassau Guardian
Published: June 20, 2014