Hotel News

Medical Tourism Planned For Bahamas

Bahamian healthcare facilities are likely to enter into joint ventures and partnerships with overseas providers in a bid to develop a medical tourism sector, the minister of tourism has indicated, with the industry targeting profitable niche markets seen as having long-term sustainability.

Business Outlook: January 14, 2010

The speakers for the 19th Bahamas Business Outlook, scheduled for January 14 at the Wyndham Nassau Resort, Cable Beach, have been announced.

Mixed Projections For 2010

As most of the world attempts to gaze into the future and predict what 2010 holds in store, business leaders in The Bahamas are offering up their own forecasts for the year — crystal ball projections that, for the most part, are coming out cloudy.


Robert Sands

President, Bahamas Hotel Association

"For 50 years the private sector and the Ministry of Tourism have been operating on an organizational model suited to past needs, we question whether that model is relevant to meeting our future needs," Sands said. "We've begun a self assessment and in 2010 will begin in earnest to determine how best we might reorganize the [Bahamas Hotel Association] and our industry's collective and collaborative approach to the future.

"I believe we've made good strides in bad times. But I also believe that we've not realized our potential. To do so will require a stronger and more collective resolve by all of us and a willingness to be a far more positive and proactive force for change. I believe all of that is within our grasp... I am bullish on our future and confident that our industry's best days are ahead of us."




Minister of Tourism and Aviation

"I wouldn't want to hazard a guess to look at 2010 right now."

"For January, on a number of properties [bookings] are looking a little bit better than last January, but unfortunately what is happening nowadays is more and more bookings than ever before are happening very close the departure date," Vanderpool-Wallace said. "We used to be able to forecast a great deal better because people used to book a longer time in advance, but somehow the marketplace is booking very close to travel date. Instead of making these kinds of ongoing projections from month to month, we find it very difficult to do better than that.

"The Bahamas thrived for a long time on group business, high-priced group business during the winter months. But we know what's happened to the economy in the U.S. and we know what has happened to those companies. So that business we used to have on the books for the early months of the year we don't now have that on the books in as high numbers. We have some, thank god, but not as high as we would like.

Therefore, we're going to find that these individual bookings are going to roll in, which makes forecasting more difficult."


Zhivargo Laing

State Minister for Finance

"We believe things will be better than this year, though still strained," Laing told Guardian Business. "Clearly while the global economic situation is improving it's still sufficiently challenging enough to be impacting on our situation, so we expect better days than we've seen in this year, but still challenging."


Khaalis Rolle

President of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce

"I firmly believe we're still a ways off from seeing growth again [and] there will be no growth in 2010, only stabilization in 2010." I think one of the things you will see in the business community is limited activity in terms of investing activity, unfortunately there isn't a whole lot of capital available for any new development," Rolle explained. "So I don't think you're going find many new major businesses springing up particularly during the first quarter.

"You will have limited investment [centered around] upgrading facilities and improving businesses, the things that were in the pipeline already there will be a leveling off and completion of those. We've hit the technical end of the recession and we're going to go through a period where people are trying to figure out what to do next.

"Business will try to rationalize how to keep their businesses afloat [and] that will be the bulk of activity... people are just trying to keep the doors open."


William Wong

President of the Bahamas Real Estate Association

"I think 2010 will be the year for industry [and] we should see some signs of improvement," said Wong. "That would probably be in the second quarter. I'm hoping to see some positive changes in the industry in the 2Q of 2010.

"But we've got to wait to see what happens [and] we're looking forward to it. I think in the industry we'll be happy to see 2009 behind us [and] that's everybody in the entire real estate market throughout The Bahamas."


Stephen Wrinkle

President of the Bahamian Contractors Association

"2010 holds some possibility for improvement."

"There's obviously the Baha Mar project, which will be one of the main factors to effect the volume of work. The airport expanding with more of that contract is another one as far as a big project," Wrinkle told Guardian Business. "The real problem in the industry is the housing market has not re-mobilized [and] until the middle income housing market reemerges, we're going to be in continuing declines.

"The housing market absorbs large numbers [and] until such time as the banks are able to lend again, we're not able to see such growth in housing sector which will impact the industry in the long term.

"In the mean time we just have to hang on [because] I don't see any drastic immediate impact. Otherwise, it will be the second half before we see a turnaround. For now, the government is keeping the boat afloat with their projects having significant impact on industry. The industry would be in dire straits if not for that [and] I hope it carries on until the private can pick up and meet it."


Tanya McCartney

Managing Director of RBC FINCO

"2010 looks uncertain momentarily, so it's difficult to make an assessment at this point," McCartney said. "I expect bankers such as myself will continue to work with customers [and] we're going to have to continue to work with them throughout most of 2010.

"It's difficult to say when we can expect a turnaround."

Source: The Nassau Guardian

Atlantis Hosts PokerStars Caribbean Adventure

Editor's note: will have complete coverage of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure through January 14.

There are perks to this job.

It is 16 degrees Fahrenheit outside as I write this column on Sunday afternoon, buried under blankets, sweaters and my thickest socks in the dead of Toronto winter. That measurement comes before factoring in a wind chill that has to be pretty fierce considering the snow seems to be 'falling' at an upwards incline. Last night, I spilled a cup of water as I got into my car and it froze on contact with the dashboard. It's pretty miserable here.

Additional Airport Security Checks Extended

Please be advised that the Airport Authority Security at Lynden Pindling International Airport has indicated that the US Transportation Security Administration has advised that the 100% screening at the boarding gates is extended to January 4, 2010.

Further updates will be sent as more information becomes available. Please advise guests and those traveling via LPIA to arrive at the airport three hours prior to departure, particularly during peak traffic periods of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Page 138 of 162