Message From BHTA President


Message from Mr. Carlton Russell, President of The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association

Dear valued members, partners, and supporters;

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your steadfast support of The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association.  

I am proud to serve as President of an organization that is steeped in historic trailblazing influence. My tenure as Senior Vice President was engaging and enlightening.  Now, from a panoramic view of the kind of impact The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association has had and continues to have on the tourism economy here in The Bahamas and the region, I am excited and energized to embrace and explore all of the opportunities ahead of us.   We are here to serve you, and we do so with passion, professionalism, dedication and a sheer determination; to make a difference in our tourism environment; to advocate on your behalf on matters of importance to industry; to be the catalyst for change, and to help to ensure the youth of today are equipped with the knowledge, understanding, aptitude and attitude necessary to secure a future for The Bahamas that is bright, beautiful, profitable, productive and sustainable.

I invite you to take a moment to read the outline of the Association’s Areas of Focus for 2017 below.  We welcome your feedback, as we endeavor to achieve our mandate of “facilitating the promotion, profitability, quality and sustainability of Tourism for The Bahamas”. 

Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association
Areas of Focus for 2017

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association will continue to act effectively on behalf of industry, through the engagement and support of members and organizations such as The Bahamas Hotel Employers Association, and Promotion Boards; liaising with public and private sector partners such as The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Association of Bahamas Marinas, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and Caribbean Tourism Organization, and varying respective Government Ministries on Advocacy issues such as:

  • Employment Act 2001
  • Universal Health Care/National Health Insurance
  • Regulation and Taxation of Vacation Home Rental Business
  • Energy Cost and Efficiency
  • Developing Strategies enabling and enhancing collaboration with Regional Tourism Partners as we address advocacy issues that impact the region

Supporting Bahamian Culture; Cuisine and Customs

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association will continue its efforts to highlight, support and showcase quality, authentic experiences, Bahamian products - authentic arts and crafts; customs and heritage; flora and fauna indigenous to the destination through initiatives such as:

  • Tru Tru Bahamian Movement – Strives to broaden the impact of tourism spend within the  local economies, as buying Bahamian supports local businesses, employment and provides economic stimulation in diverse areas of the local economies.
  • Tru Tru Bahamian Festival – and other Tru Tru Bahamian Experiences: mini events, vignettes and showcasing opportunities made possible through partners such as Nassau Airport Development Company , Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture, Promotion Boards, Hotel Properties and Allied Members, local and regional partners such as the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.  Tru Tru Bahamian Festival and Events aims to highlight the indigenous aspects of The Bahamas  that makes us unique as a destination; also endeavors to broaden the impact of the tourism spend throughout the local economies
  • Tru Tru Bahamian Marketplace – connecting local businesses with tourism purchasers to infuse authentic Bahamian art, craft, food, drink, music, dance, culture and customs, into our local product and to provide visitors with access to authentic Bahamian experiences.
  • Taste of the Caribbean and other regional and national Culinary Competitions, Events and Experiences which showcases the culinary prowess and unique indigenous Cuisine of The Bahamas.
  • In addition, The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, through synergized partnerships with The Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board, Grand Bahama Island Tourist Board, Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board and Paradise Island Tourism Development Association, will continue to develop programs which showcase the unique and diverse elements of the entire archipelago of islands of The Bahamas.  One such concept includes an initiative designed to encourage repeat visits and inter-island travel; “Bahamas Stop and Hop”: which will encourage tourism industry partners to collaborate, partner and package travel experiences. Guests would “Stop” in Nassau, and then “Hop” to a family island to experience the full range of flavors in The Bahamas, in one travel package. Given the variety of family island experiences that are unique to each island, we hope to stimulate repeat business as guests use Nassau, Paradise Island repeatedly, as a launch pad to the plethora of island experiences throughout the archipelago.

Workforce Development
The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association will continue to work collaboratively with members, industry partners, public and private sector partners and stakeholders on initiatives designed to adequately prepare Bahamian youth to enter the tourism economy, to continue to positively influence the attitudes, customer service and skill sets of the existing workforce and to develop strategies, with partners such as the University of The Bahamas, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism, to ensure people throughout the archipelago are able to access training and education resources.

In addition, The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association will strive to instill a nationwide tourism appreciation initiative which will focus on the importance of customer service and propagate the message that the delivery of excellent service directly influences our ability to grow market share in a globally competitive market. We will maintain and improve existing programs with industry partners (Junior Hotelier Program, Teachers Shadowing, Scholarship Programs, Award and Recognition programs such as Cacique, Tourism Champions; Junior Minister of Tourism etc.) and develop new programs with public and private sector partners (i.e. - Weekend Work programs (from Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma). We will work with the University of The Bahamas to develop relevant, “short courses” which can be easily mobilized throughout the family islands and strive to utilize enhancements in technology (webinars, social media, tutorials) to broaden the reach of workforce development efforts.

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association  will also focus on “succession planning” initiatives which will enhance the connections between existing, long serving tourism professionals, tourism icons and influencers and the younger, burgeoning generation of tourism professionals through efforts to highlight tourism icons (i.e. Tourism Hall of Fame) and inspire and develop sustainable relationships between generations of tourism influencers.

Sustainable Activities
The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association will continue to liaise with local and regional partners to prepare for, react to and address issues such as:
Hurricanes and changes in the environment due to climate influences
Zika, and any other public health issues currently affecting tourism economies

We will continue to work on initiatives aimed at addressing energy costs and efficiency through efforts such as CHENACT, and other energy related initiatives.

Membership Benefits
Through the efforts and initiatives described above; active engagement; liaising with the gambit of private and public sector organizations, associations, government bodies, businesses, and not for profit organizations, in the nation, the region and internationally we will strive to serve our members as we positively influence the destinations tourism economy and bring direct and indirect value to our members in the short, mid and long term.

Carlton Russell
Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association
2nd Floor, Hotels’ House, East Bay Street
P.O. Box N-7799 | Nassau, The Bahamas
Telephone: 322-8381 |Fax: 502-4221