Minnis Pledges To Revitalize Nassau, Boost Tourism

Friday, 16 June 2017 07:31 News Editor
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Highlighting that more diversification is needed in the tourism industry, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis promised to revitalize Nassau and construct a native food market Over-the-Hill as part of his strategic plan to boost the economy and promote culture.

While speaking at the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s board of directors and membership meeting yesterday, Minnis said, “Just as a previous FNM government created Fish Fry and a new straw market, my administration will build a native food market Over-the-Hill.

“Many cities and countries around the world boast native food markets.

“Our native food market will be adorned with Bahamian art.

“It will be a major economic empowerment and revitalization project.

“A native food market will welcome scores of Bahamians and tourists.

“It will provide business opportunities and allow many Bahamians to sell their goods and products.

“The native food market will have a variety of foods and products for sale, from ice cream to potato and cassava bread, tamarind sauce, local teas and other Bahamian treats.”

Minnis did not say when the market will be constructed but also promised to “revitalize Nassau”.

He gave a little more details concerning that pledge.

“Through collaborative efforts, the city of Nassau will be revitalized to encourage greater visitor spending and create more inviting experiences for residents and visitors,” he said.

“We will refurbish the welcome center at Festival Place.

“It will be flanked by a scenic, waterfront promenade constructed from Woodes Rodgers Wharf eastward to Armstrong Street.

“This promenade will include commercial and recreational space conducive to retail and restaurant businesses.

“This will help to re-energize the city and provide more engaging interactions for cruise passengers, and more economic opportunities for Bahamians.”

Minnis said 21st century travelers seek more than “the proverbial sun, sand and sea” but now look to have more unique and authentic experiences.

He said the formation of joint ventures will be a central approach to the execution of projects in his administration, including the restoration and maintenance of historic sites and the designation of iconic islands.

Untapped potential

The prime minister also said while the country has a successful tourism industry, there is still untapped potential.

He said the government will be rolling out a master strategic plan in collaboration with the private sector in the near future to help discover and market this potential.

“We are confronted with the challenge of growing an economy that has been stagnant for several years,” Minnis said.

“We are in a climate of unprecedented competition in the global and regional marketplace.

“A common lament is that our economy is not diversified enough.

“While diversification is needed, there is extraordinary diversification that can still be gained within tourism.

“A leading hotelier operating in The Bahamas was at a conference in Jamaica where there was a concern about what the opening of Cuba would mean for the region.

“His reply: ‘Wait ‘til The Bahamas really opens up and see what that will mean for tourism in The Bahamas.’

“His point was that The Bahamas has considerable untapped potential.

“Tourism is the platform from which we can boost and launch a network of inter-related industries.”

Jayme Pinder
The Nassau Guardian
Published: June 16, 2017