Bahamas Must Beat Guest Expectations

Bahamas Must Beat Guest Expectations
Speaking on Friday at the Association’s 68th annual general meeting (AGM), which was held virtually for the first time, Carlton Russell, who stepped down after four years in the post, said: “The very fact that I am speaking to you from a computer screen as opposed to in-person speaks to the monumental shift that has taken place, across the globe, due to the unprecedented effects of the COVID pandemic.”

Mr Russell, who will continue to serve the BHTA as immediate past president, said the slogan Build Back Better, developed after Hurricane Dorian’s devastating impact, “continued to be applicable, though in an entirely different context and due to an entirely different cause”.

“We will rely on the same qualities; resilience, tenacity, pride and perseverance,” he added in his farewell address. “We will utilise the natural beauty that has been bestowed upon The Bahamas; our culture, our history, our people, our proximity. We will harness all that has kept us in the running as a top tourism destination to build our tourism industry back.”

Mr Russell, on behalf of the BHTA, committed to continue working with tourism partners “to deliver value for money like we never have before, to exceed guest expectations, because we know what guests have been through to get to us and we know what we have been through to get to them”.

Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation, spoke to more than 100 tourism stakeholders who participated in the virtual meeting. He praised Carlton Russell for his leadership and partnership over the past several years.

Presenters from the Ministry of Tourism; The Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board (NPIPB); The Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board (BOIPB); The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB); The Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) and Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) gave a realistic yet determined picture about the Bahamian tourism industry and spoke to the strategies deployed to restart the sector.

The Prime Minister also provided a pre-recorded message of thanks, and spoke of undertakings such as Bahamas Clear and the upcoming Digital Immigration Card, which has been approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and director of Immigration.

Dr Hubert Minnis said this initiative would not only digitise the Immigration card, but inspire “a series of new business strategies” that will “transform the entire process” and “unleash customer propositions not ever possible before the arrival of digital technology”.

The meeting also unveiled the new officers and Board of Directors for the BHTA, who will remain in their roles for 2020 to 2022.

Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice-president of government and external affairs, will replace Mr Russell as BHTA president. He has held the post three times’ over the last three decades, starting in 1990, as well as 1995 and 2009.

Jackson Weech, a senior executive at Atlantis, and newcomer to the slate of officers, will serve as senior vice-president. Jamal Glover, general manager of Bayview Suites, will serve as treasurer, a post he has held since 2016, and making him the BHTA’s longest-serving treasurer.

The Tribune
Published: December 14, 2020


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