BHTA Annual General Meeting 2017

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Deputy Prime Minister Addresses Industry Stakeholders at Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association Annual General Meeting

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) recently held its Annual General Meeting at Atlantis, Paradise Island, where a large and diverse group of tourism related stakeholders gathered to connect with fellow business owners, operators and executives and to listen to reports on industry performance, forecasts and issues affecting Tourism in the Bahamas including impeded airlift in certain family islands due to issues arising recently with fire and safety equipment.

Fred Lounsberry, CEO of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, spoke of performance and outlook for destination marketing strategies and airlift development.

Michael Reckley, Executive Vice President of the Bahamas Hotel and Restaurant Employers Association gave a report on recent activities regarding the Amendments to the Employment Act 2001, which was passed in April of 2017; and the status and forecast for National Health Insurance/Universal Health Care.

Vernice Walkine, President and CEO of the Nassau Airport Development Company gave a report on the Lynden Pindling International Airport and their plans for 2018.

Other pertinent reports included an update from Basil Smith, Executive Director of the Association of Bahamas Marinas, and Dr. Nicola Virgil-Rolle, Director of Economic Development and Planning, Office of the Prime Minister who gave an update on the IDB/OPM Municipal Governance Study Mission, of which the BHTA is a committee member and spoke of an exciting project spearheaded by the Government to revitalize “Over The Hill”.

The Keynote address was made to an attentive audience by The Honorable K. Peter Turnquest, MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance who spoke of the state of the economy from the Government’s perspective; and the economic outlook for the future.

BHTA President, Carlton Russell said: “We were pleased to hear the Deputy Prime Minister speak of areas of focus that are closely aligned with those of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association. The need to address connectivity throughout our archipelago in terms of accessibility and airlift; and to address issues with the supply and cost of electricity in The Bahamas; these are key areas that we are committed to working with the government to address.

“Also we were pleased to hear Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest speak of the need to better embrace the elements of the Bahamas that make it unique and distinct; and how we need to leverage our culture, customs and artistry to create a sense of space. This is precisely the ethos behind our Tru Tru Bahamian Movement, the Tru Tru Bahamian Festival and most recently our efforts to support and propagate local sourcing within our economy, to stem the significant outflow of funds outside of the country and create linkages between our tourism industry and our creative entrepreneurs.”