$20 mil. total is govt’s share of Baha Mar marketing
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday that the government’s planned $20 million spending over the next two years to market the Baha Mar development in Cable Beach will be worth it in the long run based on expected returns in employment and tourist arrivals.
That sum will be split into two payments. The first half will be spent in the 2013/2014 fiscal year. Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that $10 million will be allocated for Baha Mar marketing when he delivered his budget communication in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
Wilchcombe noted the deal is a part of the government’s Heads of Agreement with the developers. He said this precedent was set when the government first signed a deal with the developers of the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.
He added that while the government will spend $20 million to push Baha Mar as a prime destination, the whole country will benefit from the attention.
“We want to make sure that not only does Baha Mar get tremendous exposure; we want to make sure The Bahamas benefits tremendously from it as well,” he said.
Wilchcombe said the government plans to work closely with Baha Mar to help develop an international marketing strategy for the resort.
He said while the $20 million marketing budget is a hefty sum, the expenditure is needed to fully capitalize on the resort and boost the tourism industry.
“We’re going to acquire an additional 450,000 new hotel guests. That’s going to mean almost 1,200 airline seats a day,” Wilchcombe said.
“It requires a lot of work; we have to go after markets we haven’t gone after before. We’re going to have to work with getting visitors from destinations that we haven’t tapped into effectively at this moment.
“Yes; it’s a tremendous amount, but given what’s required in the marketplace, it’s not a bad amount. You have to consider the demands, the cost for creating a new brand. We’re working with them because we have a vested interest.
“We have to make it work to cause the employment numbers to increase and to cause our tourism destination to be renewed to help us.