Published: Jun 22, 2012
The tourism industry in The Bahamas is still recovering after the financial crisis of 2008. The meltdown in the United States led to fewer travelers and the collapse of our convention business.
Many of the large American firms that flew staff down to the islands for a convention getaway could no longer do so because they had no money or because of the perceived extravagance of such a trip during a time of hardship for so many.
The Bahamas has gained some ground since then. The companion flies free program and other subsidized initiatives have helped along with the moderate recovery in the U.S.
During these challenging times, when it comes to attracting stopover visitors, creativity is necessary. Marathon Bahamas, held earlier this year, and the Atlantis NCAA tournament are the type of creative event-based tourism initiatives that help.
It’s very simple why these events are important. When events are hosted in The Bahamas many come down for longer periods to organize, participate in and in some cases broadcast the event.
These longer stay visitors may even go beyond mere consumption from hotels. Some, for example, venture into food stores due to the impracticality of buying expensive resort products for long periods of time.
Franklyn Wilson and his company should be applauded for making Marathon Bahamas the event it has become. It should also be taken to the Family Islands from time to time, because the economic activity it would generate would be a boost for those often forgotten places. Moving to different Family Islands would also be good for the event, as there is less traffic on those islands and they are more attractive than New Providence.
George Markantonis and Atlantis too should be applauded for securing the basketball tournament. Having it at Atlantis should fill hotel rooms and lure more visitors here, as its broadcast will be an extended advertisement for the property.
We must not forget that the Ministry of Tourism partners with those organizing events. This support should continue.