On Thursday, June 29th, the Ministry of Tourism’s Sustainable Tourism and Product Department, in conjunction with the Bahamas National Trust, hosted the first ever Conch Vendors and Suppliers Workshop at the Rand Nature Centre.

The event attracted some 27 vendors from throughout the island, who sat under the teaching of key influencers and stakeholders in the fisheries, environmental health and customer service sectors.

Speaking to the importance of customer service within the food service sector, Assistant Manager for Training and Education, Karenda Swain, said that “Happy vendors provide happy service… we want to encourage vendors that are passionate about this industry of the importance of providing service to customers with a happy spirit.”

Swain explained that just as it is vital to the tourism sector for vendors to provide happy service, it is equally important for them to provide excellent and timely service.

Director for the Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama Island, Betty Bethel, said that “We are deepening our relationship with the Bahamas National Trust, and in doing so, we wanted to take the conchservation concept and spread it to our vendors, particularly those who we feature at our festivals so that they can understand the need to conserve one of our greatest resources, which is the conch.”

[standing in back] Karen Seymour, Director, MOT; Gena Williams, Officer, Product Department, MOT; Andrew Bowe, Sr. Lieutenant, RBDF Northern Command; Nicole Colebrooke, Customer Relations Manager, GBPA; Elsworth Weir, Sr. Park Warden, BNT; Jeffrey Pinder, Sr. Executive, Product Department, MOT; Karenda Swain, Asst. Manager, Training and Education, MOT; Clement Campbell, Asst. Supt. of Fisheries Department of Marine Resources; Doria Forbes, Research Asst., MOT; Clarence Reckley, Asst. Commissioner of Police, Uniform and Operational Support GB; Nuvolari Chootosingh, Manager, Maritime, and Sports Tourism; [sitting in front] Bertha Duncanson, Chief Inspector, Department of Environmental Health Services, Betty Bethel, Director for Grand Bahama Island, MOT; Debbie Huyler, Manager for Religious Tourism, MOT; Agnessa Lundy, Science Officer, BNT

She spoke to the need to make persons more aware of the importance of protecting the wider environment, through the use of biodegradable products.

“We want persons to become more sensitive to biodegradable products that we are now going to try and incorporate into the vendors’ [food packaging], instead of Styrofoam.”

She added that “Culinary experiences top the list when it comes to choosing a destination for vacation experiences, so we want to be more sensitive and employ more best practices and we then need to have our vendors do the same at all of the festivals and signature events that the Ministry of Tourism hosts.” 

The workshop also gave attendees a better understanding of the legal ramifications behind buying undersized conch, and encouraged them to do their part in preserving The Bahamas’ most valued delicacy for years to come.


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