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News Article
Celebrating 50

The Courtyard Terrace opened in the spring of 1962 with a glittering "Bal du Paradis" hosted by Huntington Hartford who purchased four-fifths of Hog Island in 1959, renamed it Paradise Island and set about developing a resort with the construction of the Ocean Club. The opening was attended by luminaries such as William Randolph Hearst, whose influence extended to publishing, politics, Hollywood, the art world and everyday American life, and Zsa Zsa Gabor, the woman who epitomized what the world recognizes today as "celebrity", as well as dukes, earls and ambassadors from around the world. In May, the Ocean Club which has been renamed the One&Only Ocean Club celebrated its 50th anniversary with a menu that celebrates a bygone era with a number of favorite 60s inspired menu items.
Osteria caviar, escargot, hearts of palm salad, Caesar salad, lobster bisque, Steak Dianne, chateaubriand, stuffed Bahamian lobster, pan-fried dover sole, and sides like broccoli hollandaise, creamed spinach, mushrooms sautéed in butter, vegetables of the day, baked potato or sautéed potato with sliced onions and wild rice are some of the favorites being offered.
"The 50th anniversary menu has been a big hit," said Courtyard Terrace executive chef, Emmanuel Gibson. "What it has done really is brought back a sense of nostalgia for a lot of our diners who can taste the fantastic flavors of food of a bygone era. It's a very classic French menu so diners get the rich flavors from the butter, the garlic, the wine, the shallots and this makes the food outstanding. With this menu diners are getting rich, smooth, flavorful food where the foundations of culinary principles are always adhered to."
Three of the most popular items patrons order include the lobster bisque, the Steak Dianne and the stuffed lobster tail. And the chef himself is partial to the dover sole and the lobster bisque (always remember the chef will never steer you wrong).
"It's wonderful for us to be able to create an experience like this for people," said the chef. "Since we started offering it during the official 50th anniversary month in May, I'm constantly speaking to people who tell me of the wonderful experience this menu is creating for them. It really provides people with a certain nostalgia."
Even more satisfying for the chef is hearing people tell him of having dined on the menu items as children with their parents, and now returning to Courtyard Terrace and being able to share the foods of their childhood with their children.
"And we're happy to be doing this during our 50th anniversary year because not a lot of restaurants are serving this kind of food. Plus, diners get delicious food in the historic Courtyard Terrace which is considered one of the most elegant settings on Paradise Island," he said.
The chef said the sparkling fountain, candle-lit reflecting pool and overhanging palms create an elegant garden setting under the stars in which the meal is being offered.
The 50th anniversary menu complements the restaurant's current Mediterranean-influenced cuisine.
"It makes me feel good to do this," said Chef Gibson of the two menus and specifically of one that celebrates the fabulous foods that were on almost every world-renowned restaurant menu 50 years ago.
"It has also allowed me as a chef to go back and recreate something even though I wasn't there, but still be able to duplicate that same experience," said the 40-something chef, who has worked at the restaurant for five years. "What I had to do was grab some old menus from the Courtyard back then, and also try to ensure that we make the dishes look as original as possible, including the plating," he said.
Chef Gibson also encourages locals to try the 50th anniversary menu before it's gone.
"It will be a good experience for locals to try it because they'll be dining in a wonderful atmosphere like the Courtyard so they'll have two things going -- good atmosphere and great food," he said.
Courtyard Terrace closes for the month of September, but reopens on October 1, giving patrons three more months to experience the menu of a bygone era. The menu has been was such a hit when it debuted in May that the Courtyard Terrace extended the special menu offering to the end of the year.

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News Article
Bringing the taste of lionfish to the Big Apple

A NEW Bahamian restaurant specialising in gourmet lionfish dishes is making waves in the Lower East Side of New York.

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News Article
Copa revels in 40 'honeymoon' hike

PANAMA CITY, Panama -- The Bahamas saw a 40 percent hike in visitor arrivals from Latin America for June and July, with Copa Airlines' four-weekly flights behind 98 percent of the increase, according to statistics out of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT).

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News Article
Bahamian high school team places seventh in international tourism competition

Four Bahamian students are making waves -- but it's not in academics or sports.  The four students of Anatol Rodgers High School are instead making waves in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Brandon Brooks, Delnika Stuart, Christoff Hall and Lakeyia Adderley, four persons that took tourism and hospitality studies at Anatol Rodgers High School, traveled to Orlando, Florida for the eighth annual American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) National Lodging Management Program (LMP) Competition at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort where they were challenged to the real-life work experience in a hotel. The teams of students displayed their proficiency in three contests:
Hotel operations: Students applied their knowledge in a three-part challenge -- room inspections in which students has 10 minutes to find housekeeping cleaning errors in a typical guest room using an executive housekeeping checklist; night audit, in which teams performed financial calculations and manually posted front desk accounting information and case studies in food and beverage and sales and marketing in which students had 15 minutes to prepare solutions to case study scenarios.
The hospitality project: Teams demonstrated their knowledge, skills and abilities in event planning.  They were given a scenario that included budget parameters, invitation design, banquet event order, menu and floor plan.
The knowledge bowl: Teams demonstrated their knowledge through a multi-round, question and answer Jeopardy-style quiz.
In all, 12 teams representing schools in Arkansas, The Bahamas, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, DC. and Wyoming participated in the LMP national educational program for high school juniors and seniors.  When the final guest room had been checked for housekeeping errors, The Bahamian foursome placed seventh out of the 12 schools that participated.  High school hospitality students from Okkodo High School in Guam took home the national title. Second place went to Lakeland High School (Idaho) with students from Mountain View Academy (New Hampshire) taking third spot.
The Bahamian team may not have won, but 17-year-old Lakeyia Adderley says what she liked most about the competition was the creative activities like the knowledge bowl, hospitality project, Jeopardy-style question and answer session and the room inspection.
"We may not have won, but it was great for us as a learning experience," said the tourism and hospitality studies student.  "It was also a great chance to promote The Bahamas because there were kids at the competition that didn't even know about our country.  I think it is great that we went and represented and saw just what is out there that can make us better in this field in the long run."
The twelfth grade student said,  "I am really determined to be a part of this industry now, and I think I am more ready than ever."
Christoff Hall, 17, says prior to the competition he thought he had learnt a lot from the hospitality program, but realizes after the international competition that he's learnt even more.
"It felt good going to the competition especially since you had to be chosen out a lot of students who were really good in the program. We did a lot of fun things and it was amazing," said Hall, who is headboy at Anatol Rodgers school.  "What I learnt the most from the new program itself is something I probably would've taken longer to learn had I done it any other way.  For instance, although we are a nation dependent on tourism I didn't know much about it.  I figured if I did the program I would learn more and see if this is a field I would like to enter and I did. I am now interested in being an executive manager in the tourism field."
Brandon Brooks has no regrets about joining the hospitality and management program, and participating in the international competition. The 17-year-old says the competition was one of the best things he has experienced.
"The program is about the world of tourism and what we can realistically expect should we enter the field.  We learned so much in terms of etiquette, professionalism, customer care and management that really prepared us for the field.  We went to different hotels and got first-hand experience and saw just how all the levels of the hotel staff operate.  My eyes were really opened to the fact that the industry isn't confined to just hotels and restaurants. It is in almost every aspect of our society in which a service and personal interaction is involved.  I learnt more than just theory.  I got to go out there, meet people and do the work. It was great," said Brooks.
For graduating senior Delnika Stuart, 17, the competition "put the icing on the cake" for her as the program ended. Her biggest regret is that she did not take the program as seriously as she should have when she started out.
She says she now realizes that had she applied herself more and taken full advantage of the opportunities given to her from the start, she wouldn't have been challenged for the top student in the program.  But what she has realized now that the program has ended for her as she leaves high school behind is that she is passionate about being a pastry chef and an entrepreneur.  She hopes to use the  techniques she learnt throughout the course and in the competition to build her own business in the future.
Anatol Rodgers' tourism studies teacher Janelle Cambridge, who traveled with the team to the competition, was proud of the students' accomplishments and hopes to see an increase in the number of Bahamian schools participating in the NLMP competition.
"I think the students did very well as this was their first time in the competition. I hope we go back and place in the top three next time."
She said for her it's not only about being able to go to the competition, but to see how much the students learn and experience. She realizes this will put them ahead of so many others because of the hospitality and management program that's the Ministry of Education initiative.  In 2009, the Ministry of Education partnered with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLE) to certify Bahamian hospitality teachers as instructors to teach the three curriculum.  Since the certification, Anatol Rodgers High School is the only school to offer the hospitality and tourism studies as a full program.
"I believe that this program is better than the traditional tourism education or culinary arts programs in high schools now, because it allows students to do more programs than just BahamaHost which is essential in helping students learn interpersonal and problem solving skills and how to deal with customers," says Cambridge. "Students learn so much it is amazing. I do not know if the students would've done so well in the competition had they not been participants in this program and the depth it goes into."
She also said it is important to expose the students to competitions like the AHLEI competition to remind them that there are other countries out there with a tourism product, and as the future of the industry they need to keep on top of everything that is out there.
Cambridge says many people say tourism today is nothing like it was in the days of yesteryear when programs like BahamaHost were successful and entering the industry was an honorable profession and not just another job.
She says most people have had an experience where they didn't get the kind of service they thought they should have at a tourism-based establishment and often wonder just what went wrong in the training of the staff they met. Cambridge says implementing programs like tourism and hospitality studies (for) students while they are young and more pliable to set the right foundation is the best way to improve the quality of this vital industry.
She hopes more schools establish the whole program as a normal curriculum in the future because she has found great success and sees the potential it will have for the other students who may be interested in the field. In the first year, students interested in the program can expect to participate in the Junior Hotelier Program, a 10-week curriculum that allows students to explore the possibilities in careers in hospitality and meet industry professionals to learn firsthand about the industry.
Cambridge says this method is better than just reading about what is out there and having a guest speaker come in for one or two classes because it ends up being more engaging and important questions can be answered on the spot.
Students also participate in CaribCert, a regional certification program from the Caribbean Hotel Association that gets students to fully understand the core essentials of tourism industry including sustainable tourism, professionalism, health and safety, customer service and other things.
Senior students in the program will have completed the 320 hours in the full program inclusive of the 120-hour internship necessary to be certified in different tourism disciplines of their choosing such as rooms division specialists, food and beverage server, sales and marketing, maintenance employee and front desk employee.
 

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News Article
Port 'dismayed' by Shenanigan's

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has described itself as "dismayed" by criticisms from a Bahamian businessman who closed his Port Lucaya Marketplace restaurant blaming high rents, arguing that he had been "unresponsive" to attempts to resolve the situation.

In a statement sent to Tribune Business, the GBPA said in response to Jeff Butler's Tuesday comments in this newspaper that it had offered lease discounts to all tenants over the past two years.

"We are dismayed that Mr. Jeff Butler, formerly Shenanigan's Irish Pub, felt compelled by the current conditions of the economic climate to make such statements. However, we have consistently worked on a one-on-one bas ...

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News Article
Roberts: Taxpayers losing out with new straw market

Bahamians will have a new Bay Street straw market that is 20 percent the size of what makes sense for current and future usage, but costs $5 million more than what was budgeted for by the Christie administration, former Minister of Works and current Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) chairman Bradley Roberts has claimed.
Roberts said this will include $16 million in construction costs and $11.2 million in "stop, review and cancel compensation fees".
He made the remarks during the opening of the PLP's Job Creation and Empowerment Summit at Workers House on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway on Wednesday night.
Within weeks of coming to office in 2007, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced in the House of Assembly that his administration was canceling the straw market contract the Christie administration entered into earlier that year with Woslee Construction Company.
This meant that all the professionals involved in the contract had the rug pulled from under them.
The government has never detailed the financial loss to the public as a result.
But Roberts said the cancellation resulted in a loss of the $2.3 million construction deposit; loss of fees due to the termination and hiring of new architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and a general contractor; and additional legal costs for attorneys or arbitrators in respect of a recent judgment against the government.
The Nassau Guardian recently reported that an arbitrator has determined that the Ingraham administration was in breach when it canceled the contract.
As a result, retired Supreme Court Justice Jeanne Thompson determined that the government must pay damages to Arconcepts Ltd., the architect and lead consultant for the contract.
The government must also pay damages to the sub-consultants -- George Cox and Associates, the project's structural engineers and Pyramid Industries, the mechanical contractor.
"Who here thinks that Bahamians just have money to throw out like that?  Who here believes that Bahamians deserve better, deserve a government ready to invest in them instead of throwing money out for political reasons?  They didn't do right by the straw vendors.  They didn't do right by the Bahamian people.  They just looked after themselves."
Roberts said the government "which has presided over massive job losses has to tell 190 vendors that they cannot be accommodated in the new market".
As minister of works, Roberts was intimately involved in negotiations for the contract signed under the Christie-led government.
He noted that the PLP administration executed a contract to build a 165,000 square foot market for $22 million, including a Bahamas Electricity Corporation electrical infrastructure upgrade, accommodating 630 vendors in stalls no less than 48 square feet in size.
The cost of the construction was then estimated at $133 per square foot, Roberts said.
"It was a good design at a good price," he said.
"The FNM's response?  They cancelled it.  They couldn't let the PLP take credit, after all.  Remember, they always put politics first, they never put Bahamians first."
He said the Free National Movement government executed a new contract to construct a 37,000 square foot market tendered at a cost of $11.2 million, excluding BEC electrical infrastructure upgrades.
"The cost of this project, now in the final stages of completion, has been revised upward to $16 million," Roberts said.
"Instead of accommodating 630 craft vendors it can only accommodate 440 vendors.  Instead of stall sizes of 48 square feet, the stalls are only 12 square feet.
"The adjusted cost of construction for this mini-facility, which makes no allowances for growth or variety, has been estimated at $432 per square foot -- $301 more per square foot than that contractually agreed under the PLP government."
He said the PLP's proposed straw market was a four-story structure with the rooftop fourth level dedicated to other income generating amenities, such as restaurants, entertainment facilities and a 100-foot tall panoramic observation tower.  It had scope for expansion and further variety and would have cost taxpayers $133 per square feet, Roberts repeated.
In contrast, the newly constructed market is approximately 2.5 stories, with one floor designated to accommodate vendors and no room for growth or expansion, according to Roberts.
All things factored in, the estimated overall development cost for this market is $27 million or $730 per square feet, he said.
"You don't need me to do the math - you're paying a lot more for a lot less," Roberts said.
After canceling the straw market contract, the Ingraham government signed a contract with Cavalier Construction for a new market, which replaces the market destroyed by fire in September 2001.

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News Article
Chefs urged: Target 'global driving forces'

By ALISON LOWE
Business Reporter

alowe@tribunemedia.net

Bahamian restaurant, bar and hospitality stakeholders should capitalise on global trends in food and beverages to increase visitor and local customer traffic/revenue, an international gastronomy and beverage consultant said yesterday.

Josué Merced-Reyes, president of InterEmarketing, a food, wine and beverage consulting firm, specialising in the Caribbean and Latin American hospitality industry, provided this advice as he gave insights into the current biggest "driving forces" behind consumers' choice of dinners, desserts and cocktails.

He urged Bahamian stakeholders - including chefs, restauranteurs, hotel food ...

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News Article
Talking cars, talking busines

During Formula One, whether it be Shanghai, Montreal or Abu Dhabi, the Paddock Club is synonymous with more than a great view of the race.  It's also a place for high-flyers in the business and racing scene to meet, talk cars and perhaps do a little business.
David McLaughlin, the UK Event Director for Bahamas Speed Week, doesn't expect to duplicate the Formula One experience.
But he intends on coming pretty close.
"It's a model that works for Formula One," he said.  "It's business to business, and we've had some tremendous interest so far."
As part of Bahamas Speed Week, running from November 30 until December 4, event organizers have begun to sell booths in the Paddock Club to stimulate sponsorship and business - starting at $10,000 a pop.
While the driving force behind the event is tourism, McLaughlin said the Paddock Club, located in the center of a 1.1 mile temporary racetrack at Arawak Cay, will be a buzzing hive of corporate activity, giving participants a chance to forge contacts among elite players in the business world.
When it was an annual event in The Bahamas from 1954 to 1966, Bahamas Speed Week attracted some
of the whos-who in the racecar and celebrity scene.
It's revival promises to be a return to this former glory.
Organizers expect around $100 million worth of racecars to arrive on Nassau's shores in what should be a massive boom for the tourism industry.
Sir Stirling Moss, the legendary Formula One driver, will serve as patron to the event's much-anticipated revival, and dozens of high-end businessmen and racecar enthusiasts will be joining him in the pits.
The goal, according to Jimmie Lowe, the event's president, is to fill between 4,000 and 5,000 hotel rooms as a direct result of Bahamas Speed Week.  Restaurants and retail centers throughout the island are also expected to benefit.
McLaughlin said the focus of Bahamas Week Speed is on tourism, and of course, the fine pieces of machinery.  But as in any high-level racing event, business is business, and the Paddock Club will serve as the social - and corporate - nerve center.
"They'll have a captive audience," McLaughlin pointed out.  "There is a huge arena to talk cars and talk business."
So far, the response has been impressive.
Carlo Milano, Graycliff and the Grand Bahama Port Authority are just a few of the major players that have stepped up to the sponsorship plate.
For $10,000, businesses can snap up a 20-by-20 foot booth, he said.
There are a number of additional updates and options available, including bronze, silver, gold and platinum packages.  At a varying scale of price, these classifications give participants access to different perks and services, such as invitations to the gala, VIP treatment and advertising space in the event program.
EFG International has also purchased a booth in the Paddock Club, and Shell Oil, McLaughlin added, has stepped up as the event's official oil and gas supplier.
Lowe said the Grand Bahama Port Authority's decision to purchase a bronze package is a testament to their push for greater visibility to the visiting crowd.
"They want to promote themselves, perhaps throw in a few free tips and attract people to visit afterwards," he explained.
These business and corporations join a growing list of sponsors for a weekend starting to pick up some momentum.
Last week, Guardian Business reported that Bahamas Speed Week is currently mulling over the possibility of building an official racetrack for subsequent events. Talks are expected to begin soon between the  Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Tourism.
"This is what we envision going forward," Lowe said earlier.
"But nothing is set in stone, If it did happen, it would facilitate a larger clientele coming, more room nights for Bahamian hotels and the economic impact could be far reaching."
Pictet Bank - the official sponsor of the gala banquet and Auction of Promises - is one of the world's leasing international private financial institutions with a presence in 19 countries.
Tickets for Bahamas Speed Week will go on sale at the end of this week.

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News Article
Conch and Kalik prove to be a winning combination

Conch and Kalik have come together and are proving to be a winning combination at one of the island's newest restaurants -- Conch N' Kalik Bar and Grill. It's the place where the mollusk and native beer can be found in almost every offering from the appetizer portion of the menu through to the soups and salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps, and their specialties. But the chefs hold off on pushing the envelope and adding it into any of their dessert items.
At Conch N' Kalik Bar and Grill located in Pompey Square, downtown, the menu features items that are twists on regular appetizers -- think conch chili fries (ground conch chili, sharp cheddar on seasoned fries), nachos (tri-colored nachos topped with homemade aged cheddar and Kalik beer cheese sauce, diced tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, guacamole and sour cream), firecracker conch spring roll (an oversized handcrafted crispy roll with blackened conch, vegetables, rice noodles and sweet tamarind dipping sauce), conch scampi, conch fettuccinie with garlic bread, conch parmesan with fettucini pasta and garlic bread, island-style coconut curry conch and conch and crab cake.
There are other unique offerings featuring the two ingredients after which the restaurant is named, like the Black Angus Beef Burger (with aged cheddar and Kalik beer cheese sauce, Kalik's double crunch onion ring, pecan smoked bacon, shredded lettuce, heirloom tomatoes on a Brioche bun) and deep water conch salad sandwich (fried conch on whole grain ciabbata bread with sour-orange mayo, shredded lettuce and vegetable salsa).
The menu items were all dreamed up in the mind of Chef Devin Johnson who opened the restaurant, but has now moved on and left it in the capable hands of Chef Eunesha Solomon who now wears the executive sous chef hat. It's a task she's up to. When Chef Devin came on board to open the restaurant, he headhunted Chef Eunesha from their previous place of employment to take over after he moved on.
Before he left, Chef Devin said the 50-item menu took him six weeks to come up with and master. A chef who is big on playing up local ingredients who has served as the national team manager for many years, he said it was a delight to come up with the menu that showcases Bahamian ingredients.
And the portion sizes are huge. He said they had to do it that way to give people their money's worth.
"People eat with their eyes, and people love it," said Chef Devin of the oversized, tasty portions that they have become known for.
They also offer a signature creamy conch and roast corn chowder (chunks of conch meat with fresh roasted corn, root vegetables and a hint of goat pepper), mango barbeque ranch chicken salad (mango, avocado, grape tomatoes, grilled corn, pigeon peas, cucumbers and romaine lettuce tossed with a mango infused barbeque ranch dressing, topped with crispy fried onions that are surprising people that are so good).
And there are also specialty offerings -- the tamarind glazed flat iron steak, mango rum basted pork baby back ribs, lobster fettucine (only served during the season), and Kalik Gold beer battered fish and chips.
And you can't have a restaurant that serves conch without offering Bahamian favorites like like cracked conch and Bahamian style steam conch. There's also a Bahamian style grilled conch, conch salad and the conch salad of the day that is upstaging the traditional salad - the tropical. Conch N' Kalik serves theirs with pineapple, mango and green apple.
According to Chef Solomon, the profile at Conch N' Kalik is all about flavor.
While they're proud of their food, the libations menu at the restaurant isn't to be sneezed at, and they say you have to have their signature drink called a Kalik-arita, where the Kalik of your choice meets a margarita base.
And while they just didn't take a chance on incorporating conch or Kalik into any of their desserts, they do offer tasty endings to satisfy the sweet tooth - guava duff, passion fruit and white chocolate cheesecake, carrot-pineapple cake and a dark rich chocolate cake with a Caribbean twist which means it has a banana-coconut mousse and finished with almonds.
With its first location open, the proprietors of Conch N' Kalik are planning to open another four locations -- one in Abaco, Grand Bahama, Turks and Caicos Islands and Florida.
Conch and Kalik is open daily. They start their beverage service at 10 a.m. Their food service starts at 11 a.m. They close at midnight.

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News Article
BHTA chief: New marketing approaches needed after 'stagnant' 2013

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has described 2013 as a "stagnant and transitional" year with "mixed financial results" and has pointed to the need for new approaches to marketing The Bahamas in 2014.
On the bright side, the BHTA President Stuart Bowe said 2013 saw many new investments in hotel properties continue, get underway, or be announced, and has argued The Bahamas is well poised to take advantage of "unprecedented opportunity" as it enters the new year.
He was addressing the annual general meeting of the BHTA on Friday.
His comments come as the most recently released official data shows that hotel properties experienced an eight percent decline in revenue in the nine months up to October of this year, mostly due to a fall in overall occupancy levels, with growth in arrivals to The Bahamas as a whole just 2.3 percent for the period as opposed to 8.3 percent in 2012.
The "high value-added" air arrivals component fell by 6.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, in comparison to 2012's 9.4 percent gain, while expansion in sea passengers stood at 5.1 percent as opposed to eight percent in 2012.
The Central Bank's Monthly Economic and Financial Development Report indicates that up to October, The Bahamas had received 4.5 million in visitors. It described tourism performance as "lackluster", primarily due to "sustained weakness in key source markets", and contributing to "subdued" domestic economic conditions overall.
Addressing the meeting, Bowe pointed to numerous challenges that need to be tackled if Bahamian tourism is to achieve its potential, while adding that the "transition" of The Bahamas as a destination is underway.
Ongoing construction or refurbishment can be seen at properties such as Baha Mar, the Blue Diamond resort on Grand Bahama, and Resorts World Bimini, noted Bowe, introducing thousands of new or restored hotel rooms to the market.
On Eleuthera, The Cove completed a major upgrade and expanded to 70 rooms. Grand Lucaya on Grand Bahama completed major refurbishments as did Sandals, Atlantis and Comfort Suites in Nassau.
Meanwhile, San Salvador will benefit from the construction of 360 new luxury condo-hotel units to be operated by Club Med and an additional 125-room boutique hotel next to that property.
However, 2013's visitor numbers left much to be desired.
Looking back at the year to date, Bowe said: "Destination-wide, hotel room occupancies and visitor arrivals will be down, average daily room rates will show a slight increase or be flat. Visitor spending, which dropped dramatically over the recession years, is slowly improving in most tourism sectors. The destination's hotel room inventory continues to improve, with major refurbishments and developments in a number of hotels and restaurants. The improvements suggest that there will be growth in the near future."
Bowe said that affordable and sufficient airlift will be critical to the ability for The Bahamas to attract the visitors who will ensure the success of many new projects underway or on stream, and added that the BHTA, the Ministry of Tourism and the Nassau Airport Development company are all working "aggressively" on this front.
"The Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board has created a detailed strategy to attract over 1,200 additional daily seats by the end of 2014 and with the ministry and NAD is actively working with major airlines to generate the new lift. New approaches to marketing the destination will be a top priority early in 2014."
Meanwhile, he noted other threats to competitiveness and new oncoming challenges.
"In the midst of tremendous promise, there are the realities of our time. Government needs to address growing public debt. Higher taxes are a reality. High utility costs must be lowered. Productivity and service levels need to reach the highest global standards. Economic policies must support the growth of airlift, visitor spending and small business development."
Bowe said the BHTA is committed to addressing many of these challenges, working on various fronts to do so.
"We continue to be vigilant on workforce development at all levels. While more efforts must be undertaken to attract business and address our industry's cost challenges, we must do all that we can to manage customer service expectations."

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