Deputy Prime Minister Cooper says Bahamas has all the prime conditions to propel economic growth
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — With global travel resuming and the Islands of The Bahamas projected to near pre-pandemic tourist arrival levels, according to the nation’s second-in-command, the government wants all willing residents to “enjoy the benefits of participating fully in the tourism industry”.
At the 8th Annual International Multicultural and Heritage Tourism Summit and Trade Show, Chester Cooper — the country’s newly elected minister of tourism, investments and aviation, as well as its deputy prime minister — said his government “recognizes that the current economic circumstances of our country dictate that we leave no stone unturned in creating opportunities for our citizens”.
This is “especially given the fact that in the aftermath of the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, borders closed and global tourism took its worst hit ever”, he noted.
“Now, we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the strong resurgence of tourism in the Caribbean and in The Bahamas more specifically,” said Cooper.
He added, “So now, as we emerge from the global recession instigated by COVID-19, we are determined to build back better and to build back stronger.
“We want as many of our people as are inclined to do so to enjoy the benefits of participating fully in the tourism industry. By this we mean by innovating and building vibrant and sustainable livelihoods that both contribute to and benefit from the tourism industry by partnering with each other and with inbound investors that can benefit from the use of local products and services; arts and culture and entertainment; tours and activities; unique food and beverage products; durable goods; professional services; and the strengthening of the local tourism supply chain.”
Cooper pointed to “significant” forward bookings for hotels, increased airlift and a robust return of cruising as he revealed, “During the month of August, we were only 23 percent below 2019 [visitor arrival] levels. We forecast to be less than five percent below 2019 levels for September through November, and we optimistically target that we will achieve 2019 levels year-over-year by December.”
He said that amid such burgeoning recovery, his government is seeking “reliable partners proposing projects that are viable in their own right and that can bring real value and benefits to the country and its people”.
“The Bahamas has in place all of the prime conditions conducive to propelling economic growth in the short to medium to long term,” he affirmed.