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Nassau, Bahamas - Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe on Wednesday announced that The Bahamas will host Caribbean Marketplace for the second consecutive year - a first for any country that has hosted the business event.
St Lucia, Barbados, Jamaica and the Bahamas are among the nations that will compete head-to-head for the coveted title of "Caribbean's Leading Destination" at a VIP World Travel Awards (WTA) ceremony in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 19 October 2011.
Prime Minister Perry Christie is not faulting Sandals for seeking some relief for its Exuma property. For too long, Bahamian governments of all political persuasions have been backed into a corner to provide financial assistance for major investments, especially in the area of tourism.
By NOELLE NICOLLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
SANDALS Emerald Bay is here to stay, so "we have to make it work", leader of the opposition Perry Christie said yesterday.
He said "speculation and conjecture" about whether or not Sandals is "the right fit" for Exuma is pointless.
"There is a reality. Sandals is the owner. Butch Stewart is the owner. They are in Exuma. They have the property. They are not going anywhere. It is one of their most upscale properties in the world, so that is the reality any government must deal with," said Mr Christie in a radio interview.
As for the all-inclusive model, Mr Christie said there is a history ...
The high cost of fuel is hurting the growth of tourism and other industries in Exuma, according to the Director General at the Ministry of Tourism, and we must all work together to come up with solutions.
That was one important message expressed at the Exuma Business Outlook (EBO) yesterday, when David Johnson addressed a crowd of politicians, businessmen and students at the annual event.
"It's going extremely well," Joan Albury told Guardian Business.
"He emphasized the cost of aviation [has] affected the development of tourism here. There was someone in the audience responsible for Odyssey Aviation Bahamas, and apparently they handle the fuel here. Now there is talk about opening up a fixed base in Exuma and they agreed to dialogue."
Albury, president of The Counsellors Ltd., organizers of the Business Outlook series, also highlighted a presentation by Jeremy Mutton, the general manager of Sandals Emerald Bay.
The purpose of his talk, according to Albury, was to discuss the need for partnerships and coming together to succeed.
"Stop being negative and be more positive," Albury said, when asked for the theme.
Mutton mentioned how thousands of travel agents will be coming over to Exuma in the next few weeks to see what Sandals has to offer, but also, he encouraged other stakeholders to get involved in the promotional drive.
Another speaker for the day was Paul Gucwa, the chief operating officer at Bahamas Petroleum Company.
Gucwa told Guardian Business he provided an overview of the plans over the next few years, discussed the company's latest findings and shared information from the environmental impact assessment (EIA).
The EIA, which was just submitted to Earl Deveaux, the Minister of Environment, outlines the possible effects of oil drilling in The Bahamas.
"I provided a brief summary, saying how mother nature is looking out for The Bahamas," Gucwa explained.
"In the event there was a spill, the currents and the winds are such that it would carry anything away from the shore and in particular away from people here in Exuma. No oil would come near the shore or the protected wildlife areas."
In light of these findings, he emphasized the need for better cross-border relationships with countries that could be affected by a spill, such as Cuba.
Other speakers for the day included Reginald Smith, Felicity Burrows, and Guardian Business columnist Sonia Brown.
May 14th 2010, Georgetown, Exuma - Odyssey Aviation Bahamas, an operation offering fuel and VIP handling services to private jet travelers, is pleased to announce that Ms. Deatra Symonette, Location Manager of the new Odyssey Aviation ‘satellite’ location in Exuma, received The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism ‘Certificate of Appreciation Award’ presented by Ms. Vernice Walkine, Director General Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. The award recognizes the ‘Unselfish acts of kindness toward visitors of the Bahamas.’
By ALISON LOWE
A major Exuma developer has seen a 20 per cent increase in property rental prices and a "good year" for sales, crediting the re-opening by Sandals of "anchor tenant", the Emerald Bay property, for improving business conditions.
Randy Hart, managing director of February Point - a high-end boutique resort community in Great Exuma - said he believes part of the improvement in prospects following the "dark ages when the sky was falling down" economically, due to the closure of the Emerald Bay property, was because his resort was already relatively well established in comparison to other similar developments.
The Exuma Business Outlook (EBO) has announced its list of speakers for the Oct 26 event, ranging from conservation specialists, oil explorers, politicians and resort owners.
The theme of the EBO, now in its sixth year, is "Vision beyond sight: How ready is Exuma to do 21st century business?"
Joan Albury, the president of The Counsellors Ltd., said this latest installment of the event will examine how small islands, such as Exuma, have fragile economies and precious ecosystems that must be protected.
"We have assembled a group who understand that true vision for the future goes beyond what we can see or experience on the ground today," Albury said.
"It's this kind of visioning and 21st century business savvy that brought the renowned Sandals resorts to [the] Exumas when Four Seasons departed."
She pointed out that the Family Islands have been "hit hard" by the global financial crisis.
When the Four Seasons Resort went into receivership and then closed in May 2009, "it seemed that the Exuma economy would collapse".
Jeremy Mutton, the general manger at Sandals at Emerald Bay, will be one of the key speakers at the EBO.
Sandals has invested millions in the resort, recently announcing a further expansion to the property after purchasing an adjacent building.
Also in attendance will be Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Algernon Cargill, Director of the National Insurance Board, and Paul Gucwa, the chief operating officer at the Bahamas Petroleum Company.
The latter is a planned speaker at the event.
Albury explained Gucwa will discuss how The Bahamas is a "giant oil province in the making".
He will be balanced by Felicity Burrows, the Marine Conversation Specialist.
Other speakers include entrepreneurs Reginald Smith and Tracey Bowe.
In a preview to his talk, Smith said there are depleted resources on the island, which caused people to leave and find work elsewhere. He pointed out the Moss Town and Hermitage Project seeks to rebuild communities and plays into the idea of sustainable tourism that offers culture.
"We look at the two communities as a model for future development of the Central and Southern Bahamas," he said.
Given the economic crisis now affecting Freeport and Grand Bahama, an action task force committee should be formed under the direction and auspices of government, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and Licensees to determine and effect both short- and long-term solutions.