Consultant: Marinas ‘a vital infrastructural feature’ for tourism
Consultant to the Association of Bahamas Marinas Basil Smith asserted the need for assistance in the marketing and functioning of marinas in The Bahamas, while stressing the economic importance that the industry has to the country’s tourism product.
Smith told Guardian Business that marinas represent a “vital infrastructural” feature of The Bahamas and are certainly a crucial element in the nation’s tourism product. He explained that marinas bring people in and allow them to spend far more money rather than to just ‘fish and go’.
“In fact, the marinas of The Bahamas represent a valuable distinguishing feature of that product, and within convenient reach of the huge U.S. market,” said Smith.
In addition, he said that boaters and yachters that use marinas stay an average of 13 to 14 nights at their destination, which he said is “far longer than most hotel visitors”.
Smith pointed out that almost 50 percent of boaters that come to The Bahamas are marina customers.
In terms of spending, he argued that marina consumers spend more on average than cruise ship visitors per day. Smith provided a list of expenditures per marina visitor: motor fuels and oil, groceries, other marina services, boat repairs, fishing, boat supplies, jewelry, scuba/snorkeling, golfing and bottled alcoholic beverages.
He warned that having a marina out of operation means a substantial loss of income for the community in which it operates.
The consultant also expressed the need for safety surveys to be performed based on challenges that larger boats face, which can be used to explore the Family Islands.
The Association of Bahamas Marinas currently has 47 allied and marina members.