A Year of Change and ChallengeWe pause during this holiday season to reflect on this past year and look forward to 2015 and beyond. Despite the many challenges in 2014, we were able to make meaningful progress with the ongoing development of our tourism industry.
There are reasons for us to feel optimistic about 2015, expanded promotional efforts, planned airlift increases, improvement in Group and Convention bookings, and stronger consumer confidence in the United States.
During the past several years, we have successfully tested the overall strength of our tourism offering. In addition to becoming more efficient, we have developed strategies to reach our markets in new and more aggressive ways. In the all-important area of customer service, there has been unrelenting reinforcement of training initiatives with the result being a positive and gratifying upswing in customer service.
We are the custodians of the future and must act accordingly.
Here is a snapshot of the changes and challenges for 2015:
- Increasing airlift to The Bahamas
- Successfully implementing the debated VAT system
- Absorbing the 2200 rooms at the Baha Mar Hotel and Resort
- Welcoming the addition of automated passport control (APC) machines at the L.O. Pindling Airport in February 2015
- Saluting the addition of guest rooms at Bimini Resort World, Paradise Island Harbor Club, Holiday Inn, and boutique hotels
- Participation in the proposed Tourism Marketing Agency
- Developing succession plan strategies for industry-wide associations and boards
- Capitalizing on travel tax reductions for children traveling to the Caribbean from the United Kingdom (Summer 2015)
- Engagement on the National Energy Bill and promoting net metering
- Becoming fully engaged in the National Health Care discussion and assessing the impact on the hotel industry
I wish to commend the hundreds of industry stakeholders who volunteered their time this year to serve on various committees. Their work with young people in our schools, support of fundraising and scholarship initiatives, involvement with workshops and training, has made a positive difference in our industry and nation.
On behalf of the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, I would also like to thank our close private sector partners in the Promotion Boards, the Bahamas Hotel Employers’ Association, the Downtown Nassau Partnership, the BHTA Human Resource Professionals Association, the BHTA Safety and Security Network, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, and the Marina Operators of The Bahamas.
We continue to have outstanding partnerships with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Education, the College of the Bahamas, the Ministry of Environment, the Nassau Airport Development Company, and others, which we will continue to build on in the upcoming year
In this season of giving, it is the year-round commitment to our community and our industry which reaffirms that “It’s Better in The Bahamas”. Thank you and best wishes for a joyous and healthy holiday.
Stuart M. Bowe
Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association