Bahamas to take advantage of Cuba’s tourism growth

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said that he is not afraid of growth in Cuba’s tourism industry and projected further growth in the local market.


“I don’t worry about the competition, I let the competition worry about me,” he said as he addressed a District Rotary Conference at Atlantis Paradise Island.


“And I say that because we are all unique destinations.  The Bahamas is unique and so is Cuba and so is Jamaica and Antigua and so on.”


More than 650 Rotarians from 10 Caribbean countries attended the meetings over the last week.


While Cuba’s tourism growth is projected to outpace the growth that many countries in the region are experiencing, Wilchcombe said Caribbean countries shouldn’t be threatened by Cuba, but instead try to take advantage of the opportunities presented.


“So for our country and other countries in the Caribbean, are we going to feel threatened by Cuba? I don’t think that we should be. I think what we ought to do is adopt multi-destination marketing. You are going to hear a lot about that in our tourism industry over the next couple of years. That’s going to be the new thing.


“It makes sense that people would be able to come to Cuba for a week and then come to The Bahamas for the next week. It’s just around the corner, one hour from Nassau to Cuba.

What will cause our markets to be successful is how you market yourself and how to you use technology to your favor.”


The minister also noted that tourism is projected to grow locally.


Travel and tourism is expected to generate $1.889 billion this year, according to the 2016 World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report.


Last year, tourism generated $1.84 billion.


Minister Wilchcombe said The Bahamas is continuing to tap into new tourism markets and is currently eying the European market.


“We’re after the business and we intend to get the business,” he said.


“So I’m very optimistic about the future. I’m not afraid of the Cuban growth. In fact I embrace the Cuban growth.


“We will continue to work together to make sure that we utilize what they have and we take advantage of the opportunities that they created in some markets and we ensure that we all benefit.”


Charles Sealy, district conference chair for Rotary International, said the meetings gave the local Rotarian arm an opportunity to introduce the overseas Rotarians to the Bahamian culture.


“Our aim was to wow our guests as they came into our shores,” he said.


“Once they arrived we had a team that brought them home in Bahamian style, from the music to the food from the Sands and Kalik beer at the airport.”


Sealy said the majority of the Rotarians were in town for a week. However, he said many guests extended their stay.

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