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Adventure sports tourism push

Developers of a multi-million-dollar Rum Cay project have invested more than$150,000 in renovations in an effort to diversify offerings into the adventure sports market–the strategy seen as key to driving visitor arrivals to that southern island.

Manager of Sumner Point Marina and Villas, Bobby Little, said the move into different markets was essential for his property, given the glut of properties throughout The Bahamas offering sun, sand and sea.

“Nassau is so overcrowded and we have to drive tourism back to Rum Cay,”he toldGuardian Businessyesterday.”We don’t want to compete with other big resorts, so we have to create different kinds of tourism to draw in the people.

“We’ve set up a new line of adventure sports where we are offering diving and parachuting.”

The property yesterday welcomed its first group of adrenaline junkies, with around 15 people flying in to see just what kind of adventure The Bahamas has to offer.

The 50-acre property is now in serious talks with a U.S. based dive group on the possibility of bringing more people into the island and spreading the word about the resort.

It’s the start of something big for that island, said spokesperson Beth Swanson.

“Like other islands in the Caribbean, Rum Cay has beautiful beaches, unparalleled fishing and warm turquoise waters,”she said.”[But]what sets Rum Cay apart is the extreme sports available on the island, which is why Bobby Little has coined the name Rum Cay Extreme.

“Whether you prefer the air, sea or land, there is something for everybody. There will be groups skydiving, diving, snorkeling, sport fishing, surfing, kite boarding, paddle boarding and much more.”

The property is hoping to make a big impression on its first group of visitors in a bid to keep them coming back.

Unlike other kinds of visitors, adventure sports lovers tend to frequent their favorite places in an effort to repeat the experience. And with its close location to The U.S., The Bahamas is in the perfect position to capitalize on this untapped market.

It’s a group that places like the Dominican Republic and even Jamaica has done a better job of going after, offering many attractions from mountain climbing to zip lining in their countries.

Little is hoping to start the tourism product’revolution’that will essentially see this country gain better market share in this area. He recently spent about$100,000 in upgrades to the property and around another$100,000 investing in fuel for the island, an essential item for running the high powered vessels needed for adventure sports.

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