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Wednesday 5th September 2012 8:00 PM
Soooo....Preseason is almost over and one week from today, The Magic Starts! September 5th @ 8:30pm Dallas Cowboys VS. New York Giants Specials For The Night $3.00 Draft During the Game... During The Game First Order of Wings Full Price Second Order 50% off 16 wings Naked, Hot as Hell, Guava BBQ, Asian Sensation. 32 Wings Naked, Hot as Hell, Guava BBQ, Asian Sensation. Don't Be Late!!! Game Starts @ 8:30 Twisted Lime Sports Bar & Grill Tucked away in the back of Sandy Port is a hidden gem called Twisted Lime! Where any occasion becomes an unforgettable evening. Whether it be our inside dining area or over looking the water on either one of our outside patios, let us cater to you with service that is straight from the heart. Twisted lime's cuisine led by Chef Leo combines the finest ingredients from around the world to create a fine casual dining experience. Come make yourself at home and enjoy our breath-taking scenery and decor which brings together modern Caribbean tranquility with a new age feel. Whether you are looking to catch the game on any of our 18 flat screen televisions, unwind over a game of pool or of course grab a bite to eat Twisted Lime is the place for you! Looking forward to seeing you there! Click HERE for more information on Twisted Lime Sports Bar & Grill
The British Colonial Hilton hotel has pumped $1 million into upgrades and refurbishments for its upcoming Beach Club.
LaToya Moxey, the resort's marketing manager, confirmed to Guardian Business a strong demand for more benefits led the hotel to embark upon the initiative.
"We have decided to add the Beach Club to our portfolio and it's a venture that we are very excited to embark upon. We are going to be targeting corporate executives on the island. We are also looking forward to launching and expanding our portfolio," she noted.
"We fall under the Hilton Worldwide brand. Every hotel has its unique features. Other hotels such as the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico has a Beach Club and we decided it would be a great opportunity for us to venture into this."
Moxey noted the preparations for the Beach Club are an extension of the resort's $15 million in upgrades undertaken three years ago.
"We decided to do various upgrades to the property. That includes the patio, pool, beach area and the gym. We estimate around $1 million in upgrades and refurbishments specifically for the club. There was a soft launch for some of our clients. We are looking to open our doors to the corporate world in a few months," she said.
She shared with Guardian Business that the club will be introduced to the corporate market, but will also be extended to interested individuals.
"We were very interested in expanding our portfolio because there is a need and demand from tourists and local guests. We decided it would be a great concept for the hotel to bring to our guests as expanded and extended benefits, making it a timely and perfect move for us," according to Moxey.
The marketing manager also pointed out that a Beach Club manager has been chosen. Thus far, the response has been promising.
"The response has been great so far. We have been getting lots of interested callers. We are expecting approximately 100 members initially for us. It's a comfortable number for us to maintain. We have been getting a lot of interest from businesses and individuals alike," she added.
She described the resort's beach club feature as unique because of its location and offerings.
The benefits of club membership include complimentary facilities and services, a hotel credit account and preferred pricing and discounts.
"Our Beach Club is an unique feature, although there are beach and country clubs throughout The Bahamas in private areas. It's a very unique experience to have the Beach Club here at the Hilton because of its location, and it ties into that corporate feel that the city brings," Moxey noted. "There are a lot of features that are available to you, such as complimentary stays for you throughout the year. And you have the convenience of full concierge service.
"Our beach club is a very unique concept as it gives members exclusive access to the Hilton property and all of its amenities. We have various features such as gym membership, free functions that we put on throughout the year, and vacation planning with other Hilton properties abroad.
"There are so many features and opportunities as it relates to our beach club."
The beach club will be launched in a few months.
INDUSTRY POSITION: Vice president and chief financial officer, Foyil Asset Management; recently elected as brand ambassador at BFSB
What attracted you to the sector?
With the task of researching a high school business project, I chose the topic of "Banking, the #2 industry in The Bahamas". Initially, my interest may have stemmed from my mother and other close relatives working in the sector but upon completion of the project, I became even more excited. From then, I wanted to be a part of that growing industry and planned my educational studies around this disposition. I enrolled in all business courses, and once I found the right fit, I made the decision to pursue a degree in finance. After two years of study on a government scholarship at the College of The Bahamas (COB), I traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia to complete my bachelor's degree at Saint Mary's University. Upon my return home, I started working at my present company as a junior fund accountant and within a year, I was the accountant for the firm's corporate and fund accounts. Looking back, The Bahamas was still in its infancy as a financial services destination and the government and regulatory bodies were just commencing development of platforms to boost the industry to achieve the country's full potential. By the time I returned, The Bahamas had made vast advancements with a fully operational stock exchange and a newly established financial services board working to further augment the industry.
How long have you been involved in financial services?
It has been thirteen years; I started working part time at the international banking firm, Banco Santander, while I attended COB. This experience further motivated me to pursue my finance degree.
As it was when I made my decision to study finance as a high school student, so it is now. I am proud to be part of a growing environment. When I started at Foyil, the company was providing fund administration and fund management services only. Over the past ten years, the company has expanded to provide services in Eastern Europe such as brokerage, custody and corporate finance. This expansion not only strengthened my financial management skills but it kept me challenged and informed of the global financial environment. In the same way that I am enthused about the growth of my company, I am inspired to see The Bahamas becoming the premier jurisdiction for financial services.
Why do you think you have been successful?
I do not become complacent; there is always opportunity for improvement to advance both myself and the sector. In my professional development, I saw that the financial industry would warrant more regulation, so I expanded my certification to qualify me as a money laundering reporting officer as well as a compliance officer, and gained membership in the International Compliance Association and Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers. In addition, I have sought to be a representative for the financial industry in my role as a brand advantage ambassador.
What qualifications do you feel are the most useful in helping you perform?
With the financial sector constantly progressing and the universe figuratively becoming smaller, being qualified requires me to keep well-informed with international evolution and regulations. I see The Bahamas as a foremost financial services destination, and in that light, global reform affects local regulation. It is important to attend seminars, conferences and be a part of organizations that are active in the progression of the industry. Along with the certifications in compliance and anti-money laundering from the Manchester Business School, I have furthered my degree with a MBA with speciality in finance and accounting from the University of Liverpool.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?
Over the last five years, the global financial climate has rapidly evolved and regulations have progressed equally as swift. In addition, the effects of the financial crisis (especially in Europe and emerging markets) require a broad spectrum of accountability and financial management. With investors uneasy about expanding or even maintaining their current investments, and the risk management platform becoming more intense, the challenge has been to remain focused; so I reaffirmed my commitment to transparency and long-term vision. Collaboration and discussions with my colleagues and regulatory agents within the industry kept me informed thus enabling me to be innovative with expansion of services to our clients.
What are you currently reading or something you have recently read that has been influential?
"Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson, M.D. This book is particularly applicable considering the changes in the environment over the last five years. It is an amazing metaphoric outlook of how to deal with change. Johnson sums it up well: Change happens; you should anticipate it, monitor it and adapt to it quickly.
A $1.5 billion lawsuit between rival casino operators in New York State and a political tug-of-war in Florida have delayed major developments from springing up in their respective states.
The news comes amid serious concerns from stakeholders in The Bahamas concerning mounting competition to the gambling product.
Back in November, George Markantonis, the president and managing director at Kerzner International (Bahamas), told Guardian Business that more legalized gambling in these states is "absolutely a concern" for future tourism numbers. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the minister of tourism and aviation, said casino services in Florida represent "the loss of a significant advantage".
But plans for both New York State and Florida appear to be at least temporarily derailed.
According to recent court documents obtained by Guardian Business, Concord Associates has filled a $1.5 billion lawsuit claiming a "racino", a facility in which horse race betting and other types of gambling are done electronically, has conspired to block its plans for a $600 million entertainment complex in upstate New York.
Phase one of the proposed casino resort would include a 75,000 square-foot casino and 258-room hotel, including five restaurants, entertainment spaces and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
Concord, the owner of 116 acres on the site of the Concord Hotel in Thompson, New York, was supposed to gain access to an additional 1,500 acres of land courtesy of Entertainment Properties Trust (EPT).
Concord alleges that EPT is now repudiating an earlier agreement on behalf of Monticello Raceway Management, the rival "racino" .
Monticello Raceway Management, a subsidiary of Empire Resorts Inc, is the only race track and legal gaming facility within 80 miles.
"Empire and the EPT defendants have combined and conspired to take actions which were and are intended to prevent, and which have prevented, plaintiffs from establishing a competing racino at the site of the former Concord Hotel and the resort in the Town of Thompson in Sullivan County, approximately four miles from the Monticello Casino," the court document said. "To foreclose plaintiffs' access to such property, Empire has induced Entertainment Properties to repudiate agreements with platinizes and deny platinizes the use of these essential facilities."
Concord claims these actions represent "anticompetitive and monopolistic practices".
Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter, a Florida House of Representations subcommittee deferred a vote last month that would have paved the way for gambling resorts in the state.
The move temporarily blocked a Malaysian conglomerate from beginning work on a $3.8 billion casino resort in downtown Miami.
Prior to the deferred vote, two counties in Florida had passed referendums allowing slot machine gambling, which now require state-level approval. State law currently prohibits casinos from expanding beyond businesses run by the Seminole Indian Tribes and selected racetracks.
Resorts World Miami, backed by the Kuala Lumpar-based Genting Group, is planning a mega resort that includes a casino, four hotels, two residential towers, a shopping center, more than 50 restaurants and nightclubs and 700,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.
Markantonis called the Genting Group "high caliber" and felt The Bahamas would have to greatly "up its game" if the development ever came to fruition.
Indeed, both developments in New York State and Florida could also present unwelcomed competitive to Baha Mar, the $2.6 billion resort rising on Cable Beach, which boasts the largest casino in the Caribbean as a centerpiece of the project.
"I will say in this particular case that there are two factors that make this a bigger concern in general," Markantonis said. "About 15 percent of our business is dedicated casino business. Many of our guests are coming here for our casino as well as perhaps other attractions."
Thursday 8th November 2012 7:00 AM
HVS Chicos Hotel Investment Conference DAY 1 - THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8th, 2012 and DAY 2 - FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9th, 2012 Click HERE to see info on Day 2 7:00 am - 9:00 pm - REGISTRATION Grand Ballroom D 8:00 am - 8:30 am - NETWORKING BREAKFAST Grand Ballroom D 8:30 am - 9:45 am - GLOBAL, REGIONAL, CARIBBEAN, AND ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Grand Ballroom D Global Trends Stephen Rushmore, Jr, Chief Executive Officer & President - HVS Global Hospitality Services Global & Regional Hotel Performance Carter Wilson, Director - STR Analytics Overview of Caribbean Lodging Market Parris Jordan, Managing Director, Caribbean - HVS Global Hospitality Services Overview of Global Economy Dr. Avery Shenfeld, Managing Director & Chief Economist – CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank 9:45 am - 10:45 am – GENERAL SESSION Grand Ballroom D VIEW FROM THE TOP: INVESTMENT IN THE REGION Join our panel of Investors, owners and operators in a discussion of the major issues impacting the industry in the region today. The region has been impacted significantly over the past five years but we are starting to see recovery in the top line at least. But is this enough to get the investment and lending communities excited about the region again? What hurdles do we still need to get over? Where do these experts see opportunities? These experts will discuss what has attracted them to the region historically, the obstacles that the industry has been dealing with and how they are overcoming the impediments to successful operations, investment and development. They will discuss whether the challenges in the Caribbean region are significantly different than in other parts of the world or whether the same issues are present and what can be learned from the experience elsewhere. Finally, they will discuss how the industry within the region may evolve over the next few years and where their focus is. Moderator: David Larone, Director – PKF Consulting Panelists: David Brillembourg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – Brilla Group Kenneth Blatt, Principal – Caribbean Property Group Dave Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer – Aimbridge Hospitality Michael Shindler, Executive Vice President of Hotels & Casinos – Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos 10:45 am - 11:00 am - NETWORKING COFFEE BREAK - SPONSOR EXHIBITS Foyer 11:00 am -12:00 pm – GENERAL SESSION Grand Ballroom D CARIBBEAN GONE GLOBAL - INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS Where did they come from and what do they want? In this important discussion comprised of experienced international investors representing various regions in the world, panelists will explain how perspective on the Caribbean has recently changed and appetite for Caribbean investment opportunity has consequently gone global. This discussion will examine how a variety of foreign family offices, institutions, lenders and emerging hotel brands have taken to the sand looking for opportunity to extend their reach into the recovering Caribbean region. Learn what they want and how they want it. Moderator: Bernard van der Lande, Managing Director and Senior Vice President – Hodges Ward Elliott Hotels Panelists: Pierre Charalambides, Founding Partner – Dolphin Capital Greg Rice, President and Founder – Solid Rock Advisors Jay Rosen, Vice President of Business Development – Davidson Hotels & Resorts Fausto Barba, Vice President of Finance and Development – Capella Hotel Group John Keith, Managing Partner – Caribe Hospitality 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 1 A Grand Ballroom E DESTINATION MARKETING IN THE CARIBBEAN Join this prestigious panel of marketing and public relations professionals and reporters who will share insights and make recommendations for effective marketing techniques. This panel is geared toward the hotel operator and owner as well as anyone with an interest in tourism promotion for the Caribbean. Moderator: Leora Lanz, Managing Director - HVS Sales & Marketing Services Panelists: Gay Myers, Senior Editor, Mexico & Caribbean - Travel Weekly Laura Davidson, President and Founder - Laura Davidson Public Relations Gary Leopold, President and Chief Executive Officer - ISM Travel & Lifestyle Marketing Ed Watkins, Editor-in-Chief - Lodging Hospitality Simón B. Suárez, Chief Development Representative, Caribbean and Central America – Hilton Worldwide 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 1 B Grand Ballroom F FINANCING A DEAL IN DIFFICULT TIMES The level of difficulty to finance hotel projects varies by region, project type and the sponsor’s track record. While construction financing remains difficult to obtain, funding for acquisitions appears to be loosening. Our panelists will discuss what pieces of the puzzle are needed to possibly make getting financing easier, the types of projects qualifying for debt, the current trends in financing terms and what the future holds on the financing front. Moderator: Jeff Higley, Vice President - STR Global Panelists: Lance Shaner, Chairman - Shaner Group Steve Carvell, Associate Dean - Cornell University, School Of Hotel Administration Peter Weiss, Director - Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Neil Bane, Senior Managing Director and Principal - Johnson Capital Sagar Desai, Director of Acquisitions & Development - Viceroy Hotel Group 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm - NETWORKING LUNCH Crowne Ballroom A Presentations from Task Force Leaders Announcement of 2013 CHICOS location from the host hotel and local Tourism Official. 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - GENERAL SESSION Grand Ballroom D THE STATE OF THE GLOBAL GAMING SECTOR: PUTTING THE CARIBBEAN INTO CONTEXT What does the future hold for casino-style gaming in the Caribbean? In the broader “neighborhood” of Central and South America? How do these opportunities compare to those available in other gaming jurisdictions around the world? This panel will explore these questions and others, from the perspective of selected leaders with relevant experience operating and investing in casino-resort projects around the world – from Las Vegas to Asia to the Caribbean. Hear about how different regulatory regimes, infrastructure demands, capital structure difficulties, project returns and other key elements impact investment and operating decisions around the gaming world from a seasoned group of industry experts. Moderator: Adam Rosenberg, Managing Director, Global Head of Gaming – Goldman Sachs Panelists: Andrea Balkan, Managing Partner – Brookfield Real Estate Nicholas Hecker, Principal – Och-Ziff Real Estate Uri Clinton, General Counsel – Baha Mar Resorts 2:50 pm - 3:50 pm - GENERAL SESSION Grand Ballroom D CUBA VS. COLUMBIA INVESTMENT CLIMATES Who will be the next success story? While Cuba has been posted on the radar for so many years in anticipation of its long-awaited opening to foreign investment, Columbia is experiencing a genuine investment renaissance that has taken everyone by storm. Listen to this panel of savvy, market-specific investors debate the merits of each respective destination, focusing on the effects of transparency, rule of law, freedom of the capital markets, and graduation from age-old stereotypes as these Caribbean cousins compete for regional and international hotel investment. Moderator: Chad Meyerson, Director Global Sales – JetBlue Panelists: Jeremy Tang, Managing Director – Hemingway Capital Adam Cohen, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer – Brilla Group Michael Register, Vice President of Development & Partner – Trust Hospitality Tim Ashby, Chief Executive Officer – Federal Regulatory Compliance Services, LLC 3:50 pm - 4:10 pm - NETWORKING COFFEE BREAK - SPONSOR EXHIBITS Foyer 4:10 pm - 5:10 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 2 A Grand Ballroom E INNOVATE FOR INVESTMENT SUCCESS - OVERCOMING INVESTMENT CHALLENGES With the economy slowly turning around and foreign investors showing renewed interest in hospitality transactions, it is vital that new development projects are delivered successfully – which will in turn stimulate additional investment into the region. This panel discussion is intended to focus on critical implementation activities that are unique to the Caribbean region – and how governments, investors, and development teams can collaborate to conceive and deliver viable hospitality investments. The discussion is intended to be very practical – providing “real-world” guidance for developers based on the panelists’ extensive experience in development in the region (representing the views of Government, private developers, investors, and operators). Moderator: Kevin Goldstein, Director of Sustainability Services – HVS Global Hospitality Services Panelists: Patrick McCudden, Senior Vice President of Real Estate & Development – Hyatt International Patrick Freeman, Vice President, Real Estate and Development – Cisneros Group of Companies Mark Durliat, Chief Executive Officer and Principal – Grace Bay Resorts Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, Principal – Bedford Baker Group Amy Ironmonger, Associate – K&L Gates, LLP 4:10 pm - 5:10 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 2 B Grand Ballroom F HOSPITALITY-DRIVEN MIXED USE RESORTS - PERSPECTIVES ON VARIOUS COMPONENTS A lively discussion of the hospitality driven mixed use model with an emphasis on several real estate components typically present within the model. The discussion will focus on these components from the perspective of physical facilities and issues, operating models, and ways to optimize cash flow and value. Moderator: John Lancet, Managing Director, Miami – HVS Global Hospitality Services Panelists: Neil Kolton, Director of Sales - Interval International Jonathan Nehmer, Principal - JN+A Design Alinio Azevedo, Director of Development - Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Nelson Parker, Head of Development, Americas - Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos German Rojas III Castillo, Senior Manager, Business Development - RCI 5:10 pm - 6:00 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 3 A Grand Ballroom E OPERATIONS: MASTERING THE REBOUND In this highly interactive session we are looking at how operators and other stakeholders are maximizing gains as the Caribbean soars into recovery. Learn from industry experts their secrets to promoting destinations, leveraging opportunity, raising rates and keeping expenses in check. Moderator: Glenn Haussman, Managing Editor – Hotel Interactive Panelists: Nikheel Advani, Chief Operating Officer and Principal – Grace Bay Resorts Paul Burke, Chief Operating Officer – Kerzner International Honorable Haydn Hughes, Parliamentary Secretary of Tourism - Government of Anguilla Louis Alicea, Director of Development, Caribbean and Latin America – Wyndham Hotel Group Alejandro Acevedo, Vice President, Caribbean and Latin America – Marriott International 5:10 pm - 6:00 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 3 B Grand Ballroom F OPPORTUNITIES, OPPORTUNITIES, OPPORTUNITIES Following four long years with stormy clouds due to the impact of the global economic recession, the silver lining is finally beginning to bring to the forefront some opportunities for investors with access to capital. Banks are emerging from the world of “pretend and extend” and are bringing some challenged properties to market; developers are taking a renewed look at stalled new builds; investors are getting tired of sitting on the sidelines and are looking actively for opportunities to reposition for the improving economy; and the existing hotels are exhibiting positive gains in RevPAR throughout the Caribbean. We look forward to discussing what form these opportunities take and some strategies to assist in bringing them to fruition. Investors, bring your wallets! Moderator: Cristina Lanao-Rossel, President - The BDC Group Panelists: Timothy Peck, Chairman – OBM International Roland Mouly, VP of Development, Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America, Americas – Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Edgar Garin, Director of Franchise Development, Central & South America – La Quinta Inns & Suites Juan Morera, Deputy Director of Corporate Development – Grupo Posadas Fernando Fernandez, VP of Development, Americas – Sol Melia International Hotels 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm – COCKTAIL RECEPTION Cafe at The Great Hall of Waters - Royal Towers Lobby Click HERE to view there website
The U.S. government has taken a dim view of the government's bidding and procurement process, noting that several complaints have been received from U.S. companies over the last year regarding an alleged lack of transparency and "undue government interference" in this process in The Bahamas.
In its latest Investment Climate report on The Bahamas, released June 26, the U.S. State Department appeared to reserve some of its most critical commentary on policies affecting inward U.S. investment into The Bahamas for a section on the transparency of the Bahamian regulatory system.
In this section it called government procurement in this country "particularly problematic", although noting that The Bahamas' regulatory environment "ranks highly when compared with that of other countries in the Western Hemisphere".
Diverging from positions taken in earlier Investment Climate reports, the document states that the U.S. government has received a number of reports of impropriety in recent times surrounding the issuance of contracts by the government.
"Over the last year, the embassy (in Nassau) has received several complaints from U.S. companies alleging a lack of transparency and undue government interference with bidding and procurement processes," states the report, which is compiled for the U.S. State Department by its embassy in Nassau.
In a separate section on corruption, the document also went further than in previous years, stating that "there has not been a sustained effort to ensure that opportunities for abuse of the system are minimized" in this regard.
This criticism came after an oft-repeated observation that there has there has never been a prosecution under the Prevention of Bribery Act in The Bahamas, despite anecdotal evidence suggesting that there is "widespread patronage with contracts routinely directed to party supporters and benefactors".
In a stinging observation on how the government promotes The Bahamas versus the reality of the environment in which international companies find themselves operating, the Investment Climate report states that although The Bahamas government "advertises a market environment where transparency, fair play and equality of treatment are protected under the law" it fails to back this up with legislation governing competition policy, anti trust policy and government procurement.
Echoing concerns raised locally by advocates of greater transparency in government approval processes such as attorney Fred Smith, the report highlights as a key area of concern the "discretionary issuance of approvals and licenses from various government agencies, the National Economic Council and other related authorities."
"In most instances, there is a general lack of transparency with an extremely limited to no possibility for review or appeal of a decision," states the report.
Going into detail on the procurement process, the U.S. report says: "From a practical standpoint, each ministry or governmental agency may employ any method to select a goods or services supplier. The Financial Administration and Audit Act state that a minister can approve any purchase up to $50,000. In the case of purchases equal to or greater than $50,000, but less than $250,000, the Tenders Board, chaired by the financial secretary, will make a recommendation to the Minister of Finance for approval. Amounts exceeding $250,000 must receive Cabinet approval. The process lacks transparency; there is no requirement to engage in open public tenders, and award decisions are not subject to challenge or review."
The report suggested that the government has not been as willing to implement the same high standards governing the use of Bahamian public funds as it has for the use internationally borrowed funds.
In addition to challenges with the procurement process, the report points out the existence of "structural weaknesses" that "undermine the investment environment", such as problems with registering property, trade policy and other "bureaucratic hurdles".
The government has indicated plans to overhaul how it undertakes public procurement, although it is not clear when this will take effect.
In his June 2013 contribution to last year's budget, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis indicated that the government intended to establish within the Ministry of Finance a Public Procurement Department headed by a chief procurement officer appointed by the minister of finance.
The principal function of the department would be to ensure that procurement is done in a fair and equitable manner, adding that independent appeals mechanism- a Public Procurement Review Tribunal - would also be created once the bill is enacted.
Continued statements indicating plans to reform public procurement have emanated from key government officials this year, however no timeline has been given.
In a press release accompanying the report, the U.S. State Department said that it is intended to assist U.S. companies with country-specific information and assessments on investment laws, measures and other important business-related factors in foreign markets.
It added: "The United States encourages foreign governments to embrace open, non-discriminatory, predictable, and transparent investment policies. Foreign investment both in the United States and abroad creates jobs, increases productivity, raises living standards, and gives businesses first-hand knowledge of a wider pool of consumers' preferences. It is a mainstay of our global economy."
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
THE BAHAMAS saw a "phenomenal" 11 per cent increase in airlift capacity year-over-year for February 2012, the minister of tourism and aviation yesterday saying this trend reflected "growing visitor demand" and was set to continue through the first half.
Noting that airlift from the key US east coast tourist market was set to receive a further boost from Delta Airlines restarting non-stop service to the Bahamas from New York on March 2-3, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace said the increased seat availability was "a complete turnaround" from the recession's darkest days.
Noting that the Bahamas was also seeing better pricing (redu ...
Get ready for a night on the dance floor that you will not soon forget. The Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas' first celebratory ball in honor of its 50th anniversary promises to not be a "stuffy" affair. It's going to be the perfect blend of sophistication and fun to kick off ball season.
It will be a spectacular night of music, laughter and good company in the Crown Ballroom at Atlantis tonight from 7 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $150.
"This will be an exciting black tie affair and it is the perfect way to kick off this month of celebration for this important milestone for the Rotary Clubs," said Charles Sealy, assistant district governor of Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas. "There will be so many things going on throughout the night to keep people upbeat and excited. Whether you are a Rotarian or not you will have a great time."
With music by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, and loads of prizes to be given out throughout the night, Sealy says "spectacular" will be the word to associate with the evening.
"There will not be a dull moment all night," he promises. "From the music, the dance to the food and the decor, you will love what you see. It will be a real experience that people will enjoy from start to finish. And with loads of prizes to be given out throughout the night."
To add another dash of spice to the evening the menu is a foodie's delight that will be nothing short of divine from start to finish from the conch and plantain soup, crab encrusted bass to the spinach stuffed chicken breasts, sorbets, salads and signature guava pastries.
You will have a wonderful time while supporting a worthy cause. Rotary is a worldwide network of inspired individuals who translate their passions into relevant social causes to change lives in communities. Business, professional and community leaders volunteer their time and talents to serve communities locally and around the world -- and form strong, lasting friendships in the process.
With loads of prizes to be given out throughout the night. You will be around great people and the funds raised throughout the night will go toward rotary initiatives. So you will be having a good time and supporting a wonderful cause.
Whether you are looking to support the good cause that is Rotary, or just looking to attend a fabulous party, the Rotary Clubs of Nassau's first celebratory ball fits the bill.
Rotary International president Kainan Banerjee will address Bahamian Rotarians. He is expected to highlight the achievements of Rotary as an international organization and share the future goals of the historic 1.2 million global club with attendees. The Rotary Club of Miami, the club who sponsored the first rotary club in The Bahamas will also be in attendance for the ball.
"This occasion is a really significant one for local Rotarians and after so many years doing such good work in our country and supporting worldwide causes I think it is a great time to celebrate," says Sealy. "I believe the Rotary Club has been doing great work in assisting many causes, and it is great for us to have this time to celebrate what we have done and reflect on where we need to go. It is also a wonderful time to mingle with the public and all those who support us and our cause. So it will be a wonderful evening that will really celebrate who we are and the people who have helped us to achieve and continue to give back."
The ball also kicks off a month of events for the 50th anniversary of the Rotary's establishment in The Bahamas. Other events to look forward to throughout the weeks include a bed race, an awards reception, bowling competition and even a golf tournament.
When: Friday, January 6
Where: Crown Ballroom, Atlantis
Time: 7 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Dress code: Black tie
Schedule of Events
Sunday, January 8
8 a.m. - Christ Church Cathedral Service
Wednesday, January 11
8 p.m. - Bowling Tournament
Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace
Friday, January 13
12:30 p.m. - Golf Tournament
Ocean Club golf course
Saturday, January 14
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Rotary photo display and blood drive
Mall at Marathon
Sunday, January 15
5 a.m. - Marathon Bahamas
8 a.m. - Boiled fish brunch at Marathon Bahamas
Tuesday, January 17
Movie Night and After Party
Galleria 6 - John F. Kennedy Drive
Thursday, January 19
7 p.m. - 50th Anniversary Banquet
Hilton Hotel Poolside and Garden
Saturday, January 28
Annual Bed Race for Charity
Mall at Marathon
American Eagle is terminating the lease of nine ATR turboprops flying out of Miami, Guardian Business has learned.
The move, part of the airline's restructuring process, impacts all of the planes that normally service The Bahamas.
While the American Airlines affiliate said destinations should be backfilled with regional jets, "the schedule is still being finalized".
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the minister of tourism and aviation, said a meeting is scheduled for next week with the troubled airline to discuss "a whole series of matters".
He expressed confidence that airlift into the country can be negotiated and should be unaffected by the restructuring.
"We think The Bahamas will always be an important destination for American, be it Eagle or the parent company," he added. "We have already had long conversations about expanding our relationship, rather than reducing it, so we are not concerned we'll find ourselves at a disadvantage here."
The nine ATRs will begin to be phased out in May of this year.
In a statement from the company, American Eagle acknowledged that "this will again impact employees".
A displacement bid is expected to be released in the coming weeks for employees. The statement went on to mention that restructuring brings about "difficult changes for all of us".
Vanderpool-Wallace felt the current restructuring could end up being an advantage for The Bahamas, as the carrier moves from smaller propeller planes to larger jets for regional travel.
These planes hold more passengers, and when the process is complete, hopefully the country will come out on top.
"In terms of perception of airlift, it might be an unintended positive consequence. I know they are having conversations to increase the size of regional jets," the minister told Guardian Business.
Also being discussed with the airline is "Bahamianizing" the D-60 terminal in Florida. The Ministry of Tourism hopes to partner with officials there to help generate a strong local feel before visitors even get on the plane.
This initiative would involve more Bahamian flavor in the terminal, providing videos, reading material, entertainment and other attractions to get tourists thinking about activities before they arrive.
The minster said that according to research at the Ministry of Tourism, visitors are less likely to spend more than what they planned to once they arrive at hotels.
Planting the tourism seeds early should generate more spending for the country, he explained.
Darrell Richardson, the CEO of Silver Airways, told Guardian Business that the loss of ATRs out of Miami is indeed a blow for American Eagle.
He felt that, depending on what happens in the coming months, it could "open the door" for Silver Airways to do more airlift from Florida to The Bahamas.
"We're talking a lot to the Miami market and to Nassau these days," he said. "If we added airlift, it would be later this year and it's on the table. If they are pulling down it will speed us up."
Silver Airways is currently in the middle of an expansion as its new Saab 340 aircraft arrive in the U.S. The third of six 34-seater planes touched down last week.
The Saab 340s are in the registration and training process. Service to The Bahamas should begin by the middle of March.
The airline recently named one of these new planes "The Spirit of The Bahamas".
"We're sitting here with a new fleet of airplanes," Richardson said, "so if American Eagle scales down, we'll take advantage of it."